LIA LOVES... THEATRE. DANCE. FASHION. LIFESTYLE.

Follow her adventures as Adelaide's premier theatre buff, arts aficionado and fashion devotee!

September 23, 2021

Review: Blood Brothers by The Princes Players at ANZAC Hall, Prince Alfred College

With book, music and lyrics by Willy Russell [of Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine fame], Blood Brothers, set in the 1960s, tells the story of a contemporary nature versus nurture plot, revolving around fraternal twins Mickey and Eddie, who were separated at birth, one subsequently being raised in a wealthy family, the other in a poor family. The different environments take the twins to opposite ends of the social spectrum, one becoming a councillor, and the other unemployed and in prison. They both fall in love with the same girl, causing a rift in their friendship and leading to the tragic death of both brothers. Inspired by a one-act play Russell read as a child ‘about two babies switched at birth. Originally developed as a school play in the early 1980s, Blood Brothers then ran for 27 years in the West End, before being reproduced on Broadway, with cult following. Making its way back to the school scene with The Princes Players, this production packs a punch with a complete cast and crew of high school […]
July 2, 2021

Review: Alan Cumming is Not Acting his Age at The Festival Theatre

When Scottish-American Renaissance man Alan Cumming agreed to become the 2021 Artistic Director of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival back in 2019, little did we know a pandemic named Rona was going to turn the world upside down and throw all plans for the arts world into a spin. As our first international Artistic Director, the whole city waited with baited breath to see what Mr Cumming would bring to the table. And what a banquet he served! From unusual and unconventional to downright unforgettable, this year’s festival is truly one to remember. Cumming has performed in concert halls across the globe; including the Sydney Opera House, the London Palladium, the Hollywood Bowl and Carnegie Hall. He’s played God, the Devil, Hitler, the Pope, a teleporting superhero, Hamlet, all the parts in MacBeth and of course the EmCee in Cabaret in the West End and on Broadway. To spend an intimate evening with him, on the closing night of what I believe to be one of the best Cabaret Festivals yet, was an absolute privilege and […]
July 2, 2021

Review: Adelaide Tonight with Bob Downe and Willsy at The Spielgeltent

Bringing my mum as my plus one to Adelaide Tonight with Bob Downe and Willsy brought back lots of memories [for her!], as we were ushered into the glorious Spielgeltent with old Safcol ads playing [bless Bert and Patti Newton] and Scott Bonner lawn mower commercials featuring Ernie Sigley, the original host of the variety show ‘Adelaide Tonight’ back in the 60s and 70s. Opening the show was host Bob Downe; the all singing, all dancing, all teeth comedian and media personality who sang up a storm with ‘Sweet Caroline’. His mile-a-minute, side splitting gags had the crowd entertained the second he stepped up on that stage. Then out comes Willsy. The walking disco ball. The most loved personality in South Australia. And winner of 19 Logies. Singing ‘Walk Right Back’ by the Everly Brothers was a lovely tune that they harmonised so beautifully together. In true Variety Show form, Adelaide Tonight has a number of diverse guests each weekend of their show, so you can literally come every weekend and enjoy an entirely different […]
June 16, 2021

Review: The Variety Gala at The Festival Theatre

It is always a thrill to be in the audience for the opening of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and this year is like no other; the fact that the festival is back after the year that was, and the incomparable Alan Cumming is at the helm! The Variety Gala, a highlight on the entertainment calendar brings together a smorgasbord of local and international talent that makes up the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. A sold out event, the foyer of the Adelaide Festival Centre was an eclectic mix of theatre lovers, drag queens and Cabaret stars. Hosted by the sparkly, dazzling and quick witted German international superstar Hans, the night was carefree, wicked, and slightly unscripted, which was refreshingly fantastic! Singing ‘Willkommen’ atop the fully functioning bar, Alan Cumming set the tone of the night and the whole Cabaret season, and had the audience in rapturous applause! The stars of the Variety Gala were all seated appropriately in Cabaret style and made their way to centre stage to spruik their show by giving a teaser taster of […]
May 30, 2021

Review: Chess the Musical at Her Majesty’s Theatre

Capitalising on the success of the Netflix hit The Queens Gambit, StoreyBoard Entertainment bring to life a semi-staged concert production of the much loved, and listened to, Chess the Musical. With music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus of the pop group ABBA, lyrics by Ulvaeus and Tim Rice, and book by Rice, the story involves a politically driven, Cold War–era chess tournament between two grandmasters, one American and the other Soviet Russian, and their fight over a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other. Chess symbolically reflected the Cold War tensions present in the 1980s. The musical has been referred to as a metaphor for the whole Cold War, with the insinuation being made that the Cold War is itself a manipulative game. As with other productions such as Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, a highly successful concept album was released prior to the first theatrical production. In the case of Chess, the concept album was released in the autumn of 1984 while the show opened in London’s West End […]
May 30, 2021

Review: Matilda the Musical at Wyatt Hall, Pulteney Grammar School

Matilda the Musical is a stage musical based on the 1988 children’s novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. Adapted by Dennis Kelly with music and lyrics by Australia’s Tim Minchin, Matilda is a dark comedy, with the musical’s narrative centering on Matilda, an extraordinary little girl with extraordinary powers. The daughter of offensive and belligerent parents, Matilda finds refuge in library books, which she reads with lightning speed and creates her own stories. Things are no better at school, where Matilda must face the tyrannical and cruel headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, who believes in Crunchem Hall’s motto: ‘Bambinatum est Magitum’ or ‘Children are Maggots’. She finds companionship in her teacher, Miss Honey, though well intentioned, is cautious and fragile. Brave little Matilda knows she has to stand up against the adults in her world, and in doing so, discovers her own remarkable powers. Matilda’s bravery teaches Miss Honey and her classmates an important lesson – that even though life can be hard, ‘nobody but me is gonna change my story’ or ‘sometimes you have […]
April 27, 2021

Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Influencers Theatre

This is the fourth production for Adelaide Youth Theatre [AYT] this year and we haven’t even hit the month of May yet! Premiering the spectacular musical, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the enormous Influencers Theatre must have been a huge undertaking, but these seasoned professionals took it in their stride. The classic tale, founded on the 1964 children’s novel by famed writer Roald Dahl, was written by playwright David Greig, with original score composed by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman. Based on the Broadway version of the musical, the show presents a more contemporary version of the original story. Eleven year-old Charlie Bucket, his mother, and four grandparents all live in poverty in a small house outside of town. In his second major role, young Harrison Thomas expresses the heart and soul of young Bucket and is a delight to watch. Charlie’s Grandpa Joe tells him about the legendary and eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka and all the wonderful sweets he made until the other chocolatiers sent in spies to […]
February 28, 2021

Review: FANGIRLS

FANGIRLS is a brilliant new Australian musical with book, music and lyrics by the absurdly talented Yve Blake. First produced by Belvoir and Queensland Theatre in association with Brisbane Festival and Australian Theatre for Young People in 2019, FANGIRLS premieres at the Adelaide Festival with much hype and new cast members. A musical based on societies fascination with reckless, uncontrollable, and feverish teenagers and their frenzied infatuation with their celebrity boy worships. It’s not the first story of delusional or uninhibited female obsession, but it is the first to completely encapsulate the very real way the world tries paint young women – that they are ‘weak’ and ‘uncontrollable’ and their passion make them ‘crazy’. Yet their male counterparts are celebrated and revered for showing similar enthusiasm for their football heroes. FANGIRLS is a compassionate celebration of young women, their excitement, and their influence. A show not just for teenagers, but for their parents, grandparents and basically anyone who has ever had a celebrity crush. The story centres around 14 year old intellect Edna [portrayed to […]
February 26, 2021

Review: The Pulse by Gravity & Other Myths

Every now and then a work comes along to challenge our perception of human connection, strength, tenacity, and resilience. Out of the apocalypse that was 2020, Gravity and Other Myths [GOM] created their most ambitious work yet – The Pulse. Their highly structured international touring model was in tatters and they had to reinvent themselves for a new world. A world where touching each other was taboo and where people and communities were constantly readjusting and responding to the changing environment around them. I was privy to seeing some rehearsals and work in progress, but nothing prepared me for the behemoth I was about to witness. A cast of 30 strong acrobats and 30 young female vocalists brought The Pulse to life. Upon being seated, adorned with masks, the membranous soundscape, designed by Mik LaVage, strikes you in the core – reverberating through your soul with its ominous and palpating tones. With the house lights still shining bright, the curtain rises ever so slowly to reveal a bare stage, set as a rehearsal space – […]
February 25, 2021

Review: Playback – 80s Pop Show at Loverboy

What I love most about the Adelaide Fringe is the diversity of shows on offer; there’s cabaret, comedy, theatre, magic, circus, music, dance…and as a punter, to have to pick a few to see based on photos, a blurb and a ticketing link is not an easy task. That’s where I come in – I get to see a plethora of shows and tell you, the punter, what I recommend. And Playback, by emerging South Australian production company, Cocktail Creative, is one I highly recommend. Set in local west end nightclub, Loverboy, you enter via a rear laneway; all dingy, with graffiti on the walls I almost expected to see a group of guys huddled over a fire pit beat boxing similar to New York in the 80s! We are taken to an outdoor bar to enjoy a bevy or two before our pre-show host Big Sash Daddy took us through our paces with a game of ‘Name the Song, Artist, Movie and Year’. I’m not gonna lie. I LOVE these types of ice breakers, […]
February 21, 2021

Review: Parlour Games at Holden Street Theatres

I absolutely adore the Holden Street Theatres, and The Arch is the perfect backdrop for this tale of murder, mayhem, and mystery. Parlour Games, presented by The Green Guys Company, plays fact with fiction, as a voiceover announces that crime-writer Agatha Christie has gone missing. This was in actuality, a true fact. Christie went missing on December 3 1926 and was not located until 11 days later, in circumstances so strange that they raised more questions than they solved. Christie herself was unable to provide any clues as she remembered nothing. Or did she? Meanwhile, the play depicts eight of her biggest fans coming together in the hope to meet their literary hero for a book signing, at a little English tearoom, only to discover that during an innocent round of Parlour Games, one of them has killed Christie herself! What ensues is an hour of hilarity, classic ‘who dunnit’ interrogations, suspense and pandemonium. Was it The Hostess [Luca Sardelis]; the hard working, but nervous wreck owner of Munkwell Manor, convening the book signing? How […]
February 21, 2021

Review: Disco Wonderland – Dancing ‘Til Dawn

When Paulini and Timomatic were announced as the headline acts for Disco Wonderland: Dancing ‘Til Dawn, I knew it was going to be one of Adelaide Fringe’s biggest shows in 2021. The show’s creators, boutique producers Release Creative, along with Andew Kay, have reimagined their original orchestral version of this show [which debuted at the Festival Theatre with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in 2018] into a bursting party celebrating the world’s most infamous, and most short-lived, discotheque, Studio 54. A hypnotic voice-over takes us back to when the Vietnam war is over, and New York is a hub of sex, drugs and rock and roll. We go behind the velvet ropes and into the seedy world of the 70s, where atmosphere, grit and disco take over. Joining Paulini and Timomatic on stage are South Australia’s crème of talent; Philippa Lynas [who has just returned from New York after touring with Cirque du Soleilas featured vocalist], quadruple threat Mark Stefanoff [Kinky Boots, Hairspray, The Voice] and the sultry and stylised Amelia Sanzo. Lynas opens the show […]
February 19, 2021

Review: Michael Griffiths – Greatest Hits

What a way to kick off opening weekend of the Adelaide Fringe with Michael Griffiths’ ‘Greatest Hits’. This Adelaide superstar, Helpmann Award winner and cabaret darling has curated his best of the best hits from his solo shows from the past 10 years. A self confessed eighties tragic, ‘Greatest Hits’ will take you from Madonna to Kylie, A-ha to Annie Lennox and some Cole Porter thrown in for good measure. Usually a one-man show, ‘Greatest Hits’ includes local musicians Felicity Freeman on bass and Steve Leske on drums, Michael tinkling the ivories at his showman best. Set in Adelaide’s newest Fringe hub, The Queens, Michael’s quirky and fun style perfectly suited the venue. From delivering his own introduction [a Fringe institution] to his final encore, Michael is a true entertainer. The epitome of cabaret; raconteur, audience engagement and collaboration, Michael delivered his ‘Greatest Hits’ with wit, enthusiasm, passion and showmanship. He was on absolute fire! As he took us on a journey through the late 70s into the 80s, he peppered his show with stories […]
February 19, 2021

Review: Carlotta – I’m Not Dead Yet Darlings!

I’m slightly embarrassed to say that this is my first time seeing Carlotta live, although the legend’s career is not lost on me. Australian cabaret performer and icon, Carlotta began her career as an original cast member of the long running Sydney based male revue, Les Girls in 1962. With an international [and celebrity!] following, Carlotta performed spot numbers as a singer and comedian before becoming the show’s lead attraction and known as ‘The Queen of the Cross’. Her life and story became the inspiration for the film ‘The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ The living legend and now Member of the Order of Australia, bids us adieu with her acclaimed, and final show, I’m Not Dead Yet Darlings!, before retiring later this year. Staged in the newest, coolest Fringe venue, The Queens Adelaide, which is all dolled up for the occasion, Carlotta’s loyal fans are waiting patiently for their queen to hit the stage. And hit the stage she does, with her glittering COVID safe mask and glamour persona ready to sing, […]
February 19, 2021

Review: Club Queens – Opening Night

When the recommendations say mature audiences, not family friendly with occasional coarse language and mild sexual references, you know you are in for an insatiably good night! Billed as the late night after party to tickle your fancies, Club Queens really will be the place to be seen on a Friday and Saturday night during Adelaide Fringe season. Opening night hosts, cabaret doyenne Amelia Ryan and arts royalty Mitchell Butel set the tone with their parody song about Covid, cabaret, clubs, and the Clare Valley, all to the tune of ‘I will Survive’. After welcoming the dignitaries and special guests, all formalities were thrown out the window for a night of unencumbered fun, unpredictable laughs and a teaser of shows that played earlier in the night or are yet to premiere. The show began with Australia’s favourite Cabaret performer and icon, Carlotta, who taunted and heckled the crowd, much to their delight, all the while smashing out dazzling show tunes leaving the audience wanting more! Jo Lawry was up next with her soothing, velvety and […]
February 28, 2021

Review: FANGIRLS

FANGIRLS is a brilliant new Australian musical with book, music and lyrics by the absurdly talented Yve Blake. First produced by Belvoir and Queensland Theatre in association with Brisbane Festival and Australian Theatre for Young People in 2019, FANGIRLS premieres at the Adelaide Festival with much hype and new cast members. A musical based on societies fascination with reckless, uncontrollable, and feverish teenagers and their frenzied infatuation with their celebrity boy worships. It’s not the first story of delusional or uninhibited female obsession, but it is the first to completely encapsulate the very real way the world tries paint young women – that they are ‘weak’ and ‘uncontrollable’ and their passion make them ‘crazy’. Yet their male counterparts are celebrated and revered for showing similar enthusiasm for their football heroes. FANGIRLS is a compassionate celebration of young women, their excitement, and their influence. A show not just for teenagers, but for their parents, grandparents and basically anyone who has ever had a celebrity crush. The story centres around 14 year old intellect Edna [portrayed to […]
March 18, 2020

Review: Two Crews at Space Theatre

I was lucky enough to gain a personal invitation by acclaimed director and choreographer, Nick Power to his third independent work, Two Crews. And who else better to come and witness this hip hop battle work for the Adelaide Festival, than my own little B-Boy, my middle son. Two Crews is the collision between France and Australia in the form of Parisian, all-women hip hop dance company, Lady Rocks, founded by choreographer and dancer Lea Cazauran. Representing Australia is Sydney based Riddim Nation, a collective who bring all styles of street dance fused with elements of their traditional culture into the ring. We arrive to see the vast open space, ready for the crews to battle it out. As they enter, they warm up in their respective corners, silently staring down their opponents. The way the stage was set, felt like the audience was pitted against each other! Clad in leopard print shirt with braids, Clairea is the first to take to the stage with a light-footed, almost lyrical popping and locking sequence, before the […]
March 6, 2020

Review: Cold Blood at the Ridley Centre

I don’t like to read about a show before seeing it. I much prefer to go in unaware and come to my own conclusion. With all the hype surrounding Kiss & Cry Collective’s Cold Blood, it was difficult to shield myself from the talk. However, I managed to observe opening night only knowing I was watching dancing hands in a tiny set. The brainchild of husband and wife creative duo, dancer and choreographer Michele Anne De Mey, and acclaimed director and screenwriter Jaco Van Dormael and texts by Thomas Gunzig, Cold Blood takes us on a whimsical and entrancing ride. It is the story of seven unpredictable and startling deaths through a multitude of scenarios, using human hands and tiny, child-like toys to demonstrate the silly but fading feebleness of life. This fascinating mix of art forms – dance, film, text – is true genius and is nothing short of original fantastical theatre. As we sit and see a large projection screen, below is the live activity of dancers, camera crew and technicians that create […]
March 17, 2019

Review: Grand Finale at the Adelaide Festival Centre

Knowing nothing more than the title and its origins prior to the performance, Hofesh Shechter Company’s Grand Finale is a spectacular blend of electronic soundscape, live classical musicians, evocative lighting and choreography that is part contemporary, part trance and part traditional. We open to a bleak, dark stage, where huge black blocks, which resemble tombstones, shadow the musicians playing in the background. Ten culturally and artistically diverse dancers portray the survivors, if you will, of the sinking Titanic; while the quintet of musicians continue to play in sweet harmony, oblivious to the disaster that surrounds them. The mini orchestra is seamless as they move around the stage, inconspicuously and almost magically, with as much grace as the dancers themselves. The dancers. Oh the dancers. I’ve never seen an ensemble interpret the idiosyncrasies, nuances and manic silence of choreography quite like these incredible artists. Their language of movement, authenticity of storytelling through their bodies..it is quite the experience. One I’ve not felt like this before. While Shechter’s choreography has repetitive phrasing, it never feels monotonous. Quite […]
March 17, 2019

Review: Ulster American at Dunstan Playhouse

Theatre. The area in which something happens. And by god does it happen. Opening night buzz of the most talked about, and shocking, Ulster American was palpable; excited theatre goers packed Dunstan Playhouse to the sounds of 70s funk music, ready, or not so ready, to take in David Ireland’s extraordinary satire. Set in an apartment in London, an English director, an Oscar-winning American actor and a Northern Irish playwright meet to rehearse a West End play. Sounds like the beginnings of a good old fashioned joke, right? Well, the joke is on us. As the three converge to discuss the play’s challenges they will face when rehearsals begin the following morning; historical accuracies, national identity, politics, misogyny, feminism, Princess Diana and Brexit become the topic of debate in this contemporary, yet classic three-hander. No sooner do the actors hit the stage, one would not dispute their undeniable talent to hold the audience in the palm of their hand. Jay Conway (Darrell D’Silva) the boisterous, egotistical, contentious American box-office movie star, is equal parts intimidating, […]
March 4, 2019

Review: Palmyra at AC Arts – Main Theatre

Palmyra. A desecrated but still majestic city in Syria that was once one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world. Destroyed by ISIS soldiers during their first occupation in 2015, the locals stood in disbelief, clapping their hands to their mouth when they saw the rubble, an act intended to terrorise the Syrian people. Look what they’ve done. And this is how we are introduced to Palmyra, the inventive oeuvre conceived, created and performed by Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas. Lesca and Voutsas are quite the pair. Working together since 2015, it is difficult to draw the line between reality and theatre; and this is what makes Palmyra so thrilling, applaudable, palpable, captivating and at times, uncomfortable. Performance art at its best. The stage is set with two black chairs, each with a plate by the legs. Except one plate is broken into pieces. ‘Llook what they’ve done’ to ‘they have really gone for it’ Voutsas utters. At the start, their relationship is playful; waltzing and spinning, dashing around the stage on […]
March 3, 2019

Review: Blaas at Thomas Edmonds Opera Studio, Adelaide Showgrounds

Blaas. Where does one begin? Quite simply, it is an experience like no other, one in which words cannot do it justice. Schweigman& present their Australian exclusive performance of Blaas, and it will delight, confuse, charm and ignite intense thought long after you’ve left the space. Blaas means ‘blow’, ‘breath’, ‘bubble’ and ‘bladder’ in Dutch and is a concept devised from the minds of award-winning director Boukje Schweigman, fashion designer turned visual artist Cocky Eek and performer Ibelisse Guardia Ferragutti. A study of space and time, wind and air and movement; this is theatre never encountered before. We are asked to leave our shoes and belongings at the door, and put scrub slippers over our feet. Already some theatre goers are uneasy. Upon walking into the stark, white room we sit on the white bench, and look out onto the large mass of white fabric at the back of the stage. Static noise is played through the speaker; an edgy sound that can be interpreted as almost cicada sounding. Slowly, we see the fabric rise […]
February 28, 2019

Review: Sex and The Musical at Treasury 1860

Walking into Treasury 1860 on a hot Adelaide night, a Cosmopolitan was just what I needed to cool me down. And the cosmos were indeed flowing, in this perfect venue for Sex and the Musical. Taking our seats to the theme music that took me back, it’s hard to think that the show actually ended in 2004. But with 2 movies and reruns still going, this iconic and cult series still has a huge following. We are taken back before the action starts, a prequel, when Carrie’s boss tells her she’s losing her edge, so she goes on the hunt for a posse of friends ‘sweet, smart, sassy and sexy’ to help her get her mojo to write her successful columns again. Carrie’s opening song, The most interesting woman, is a hilarious send up introducing us to the main character, but also questioning how she affords her luxurious lifestyle on a columnists wage. A question we have all asked ourselves! Stefanie Rossi has the hair, the body, the look and the tutu to bring musical […]