LIA LOVES... THEATRE. DANCE. CULTURE. EVENTS.

Follow her adventures as Adelaide's premier theatre buff, arts contributor, educator and ambassador!

March 5, 2024

Review: Her Majesty – The Queen Rock Show at The Fantail, Gluttony

Presented by local company The Little Things Productions, fronted by powerhouse Rachel Vidoni, is this year’s rock extravaganza, Her Majesty – The Queen Rock Show blowing the roof off [well, metaphorically, as The Fantail is Gluttony’s open-air venue] with this must-see gig. A simple premise – celebrating the great hits and musical genius of Queen. After last years award winning mighty, Come Together – The Beatles Rock Show, Vidoni has produced another spectacular show, this time as a stadium concert event. Featuring a dazzling cast of dancers and exciting musicians, Vidoni and her team take you on a psychedelic and theatrical journey that will have you standing and stomping along the whole time! Add the perfection of The Fantail as a venue, a still, cool night, with a flight of bats and I was in my element. The cool stage vibe, with blistering lighting, was set with a pink Queen Anne throne and impressive visual projections. Vidoni opens the show with Innuendo followed by a brilliant rendition of A Kind of Magic then seamlessly transitioning […]
October 14, 2023

Review: FAME the Musical at the Arts Theatre

FAME is a stage musical based on the 1980 film of the same name, conceived and developed by David De Silva. With book by Jose Fernandez, music by Steve Margoshes and lyrics by Jacques Levy, FAME follows the lives of several students who attend New York City’s High School of Performing Arts from their first year in 1980 to their graduation in 1984. The musical is significantly rewritten from film and television adaptations, with an almost entirely new score, except for the title Academy Award-winning song ‘Fame’. This full-length production is brought to life by the wonderful team from Adelaide Youth Theatre – brilliant training ground for young people in the arts. A triple threat dance major, sassy, confident and determined to make it in the big smoke Carmen Diaz, was portrayed with believability by Paige Tran. Her swan song ‘In LA’ displayed sincere vulnerability beyond her years. The intelligent but serious classical actor, Nick Piazza, was played by Jack Keukenmeester. With a secret romantic interest in Serena, Keukenmeester was authentic and genuine in his […]
October 12, 2023

Review: Finding Nemo Jr at The Arts Theatre

What a way to finish off the school holidays – exploring the big blue world of Finding Nemo Jr. Disney’s Finding Nemo Jr is a 60 minute musical adaptation of the beloved 2003 Pixar movie Finding Nemo, with new music by award-winning songwriting team Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. Marlin, an anxious and over-protective clownfish, lives in the Great Barrier Reef with his small fry Nemo, who longs to travel the world beyond their anemone home. But when Nemo is captured and taken to Sydney, Marlin faces his fears and sets off on an epic adventure across the ocean. With the help of adorable characters such as the optimistic but forgetful Dory, a laid-back sea turtle Crush and his bale, and the supportive Tank Gang, not to mention making it past the Great White Bruce and his hungry shiver, Marlin and Nemo both overcome challenges on their journey to find each other, and themselves. The set is charming and bright with slick moveable stairs to create height and drama, an excellent fly system with nets […]
August 12, 2023

Review: Legally Blonde at The Arts Theatre

Omigod you guys! If you haven’t had enough pink with the Barbie movie, then head over to The Arts Theatre to soak in Pelican Productions’ Legally Blonde The Musical! Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the 2001 MGM motion picture, with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, this revival is true to the original Broadway version. Premiering in 2007, the film was adapted into a Broadway and West End musical of the same name, nominated for five Laurence Olivier Awards, winning three, including Best Musical, in 2010. The show tells the story of Elle Woods, a sorority girl who enrols at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend Warner. She discovers how her knowledge of the law can help others, and she successfully defends exercise queen Brooke Wyndham in a murder trial. Throughout the show, very few characters have faith in Elle, but she manages to surprise them when she defies expectations while staying true to herself. A surprisingly difficult score, fun characters and story, Legally Blonde’s themes are […]
August 5, 2023

Review: Frozen Jr at the Arts Theatre

If you are unfamiliar with the premise of Frozen, then perhaps you have been living under a rock for the last 10 years. Let me help you… Frozen is a musical with music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and book by Jennifer Lee, based on the 2013 film of the same name, which in turn was based on Hans Christian Andersen’s 1844 fairy-tale, The Snow Queen. Frozen Jr is a 60-minute adaptation of the full-length musical, centering on the relationship between two sisters who are princesses, Elsa and Anna. Elsa has magical powers to freeze objects and people, which she does not know how to control. After inheriting the throne, Elsa flees, inadvertently causing the kingdom to become frozen in an eternal winter, and nearly kills her sister. She must sacrifice and show true love to save the day. After seeing the professional show last year, a number of times, [ahem 7], I know this is a tricky show to stage, but when the opening chorus begins and stunning projections are a set, […]
June 26, 2023

Review: Class of Cabaret at The Space Theatre

Class of Cabaret began in 2010 under the artistic direction of David Campbell at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival to provide a learning opportunity for talented and passionate secondary students to share their perspective on life through the art of cabaret performance. Now it’s fourteenth year, Class of Cabaret provides an expert team in the form of an experienced accompanist, a leading vocal teacher and mentorship from two renowned Adelaide artists to help these students explore issues and ideas to use the medium of cabaret to be a voice for their generation. Class of Cabaret shines a spotlight on tomorrow’s promising young stars. Two spectacular shows were staged, and I got to see the half of these young entertainers at the 6pm session. This year’s expert team comprised of mentors Joanne Hartstone and Mark Oates, director Brock Roberts, vocal coach Rosie Hosking and accompaniment and musical direction by the incredibly talented Ciara Ferguson. They opened with a group number, a medley/mash up of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colours and Sara Bareilles’ Brave before the first performer, Lillian […]
June 24, 2023

Review: Eleven O’clock on the Dot at the Quartet Bar

Eleven O’clock on the Dot celebrates the classic momentous songs that occur before the curtain closes on the second act. Iconic Broadway hits which usually establish the revelations and epiphanies of the main character. Philippa Lynas, a local girl come good, has created a brilliant in development showcasing all the unforgettable eleven O’clock numbers from the 1940s to current Broadway. Lynas, who spent 10 years in New York studying at the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy and then went onto to perform at quintessential venues such as Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall as well as lead vocalist for Cirque du Soleil, performs all the hits and has the audience singing along, and eating out of the palm of her hand. Starting with the title track of 42nd Street, Lynas smacks us in the face her outstanding jazzy pipes, but with highly trained classical undertones. We move through the Golden Age and the big brassy numbers, purely with Lynas on lead vocals, her incredible backing singers, Ben Francis [of The 60 Four fame] and […]
June 18, 2023

Review: The Fig Tree at The Banquet Room

One of the things I love about the Adelaide Cabaret Festival is the unique and exclusive glimpse we have into new or developmental works. The Fig Tree by Gillian Cosgriff is one of those. With her famously sharp-witted lyrics and on the nose musical comedy, she presented a first reading of her brand new musical, The Fig Tree. Partly inspired by Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree, and a Sylvia Plath quote from The Bell Jar, Cosgriff workshopped scenes and songs with three other local artists over 5 days to bring excerpts of this new work exploring relationships, choice, irresolution, monogamy, figs, parallel universes and love. The tree in question is both representational and physical, and as we learn with each fig plucked from the tree, an alternate universe is created for both the female characters. Showcasing Cosgriff as the protagonist, Liv, Jamie Hornsby as her loving and homely partner Tom, Lachlan Williams as the young summer love Elliot and Philippa Lynas [and her pipes!] as Liv’s recently divorced sister, Tess, these four embodied the […]
May 11, 2023

Review: Shore Break at Goodwood Theatre

Shore Break brings to life research drawn on by writer and performer Chris Pitman with those who find themselves isolated and living solitary existences in remote locations; those living on the fringe of society, in areas such as campgrounds and regional areas along the coast. Pitman used the conversations and experiences of these people to construct an exceptional one-hander, beautifully directed by Chelsea Griffith and presented by ninetyfive.theatre and Brink Productions. Ushered into the theatre, the audience were seated upstage, intimately face to face with the actor with an unpretentious black backdrop where the auditorium would be. A minimal set including a sisal rug depicting the desert dunes with Pitman already present. His un-named character opens with a poem – one he explains that he was forced to learn by his old schoolteacher and can’t ever forget. Verbose and descriptive as he illustrates the many characters of his story; his chain-smoking mother, ocean loving alcoholic father, gang leader school friend, his sincere English teacher and ‘live in the present’ girlfriend – we are engrossed and […]
March 31, 2023

Review: Come From Away at Her Majesty’s Theatre

Huzzah! It has arrived! The Broadway hit Come From Away has finally landed in Adelaide amidst much publicity and hype. And rightly so… The Canadian musical, with book, music and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein is based on the events in the Newfoundland town of Gander during the week following the September 11 attacks. There, 38 planes, carrying approximately 7,000 passengers, were commanded to land unexpectedly at Gander International Airport. Here tells the true story of how these frightened, stranded travellers from all over the globe were housed, fed and comforted by Gander residents following the attacks and reminds audiences around the world the capacity for human compassion amid evil and darkness. The characters in the musical are based on, and in most cases, share the names of the actual travellers and residents, which creates another layer of humanity and heart. Come From Away recreates the temporary community which lasted just five days but changed lives forever. The sensational creative team, headed up by Director Christopher Ashley, with Resident Director and Choreographer Michael […]
March 20, 2023

Review: Revisor at Her Majesty’s Theatre

When Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young collide, magic happens. Previous remarkable collaborations include Betroffenheit and The Statement, so Revisor is set on the same path. Based on the satirical play, The Government Inspector, published in 1836 by Russian dramatist and novelist Nikolai Gogol, Revisor is a well-known story of mistaken identity with underlying subjects of deceit, tyranny, bureaucracy, and infiltration. Using the original text to develop the story for both voice and body, Pite [using dancers from her company Kidd Pivot] and Young, bring a high-speed production of dance and theatre together with exaggerated movements that send up cartoon villains [reminiscent of the Icelandic children’s television series, Lazy Town], dramatic overplaying, and theatrical onslaught. A party of greedy and corrupt officials become struck with panic when they learn that an undercover Inspector is in their midst investigating their obvious indiscretions. They somehow manage to mistake a preening and charming civil servant, who just happens to be staying in the local hotel, for the Inspector and then proceed to entertain and schmooze him in the hope […]
March 13, 2023

Review: Smashed – The Brunch Party at The Spielgeltent

Smashed – The Brunch Party is the only way to start your Adelaide Cup day! As we picked up our breakfast banquet from the amazing buffet by Meez on Plus, and snaffle a Mimosa on the way in, we were treated to a pre-show disco with Lady Marmalade and other 70s hits blaring through the glorious Speigeltent at The Garden of Unearthly Delights. Our hostess with the mostest, Jazida, turned ‘Burn Baby Burn’ into ‘Brunch Baby Brunch’ with a gaggle of dancing avocados before we were introduced to each performer with their own individual act. Betty Bombshell, one of Australia’s most in demand burlesque artists, kicked off with a Shania Twain cowgirl number which not only showed off her bootylicious curvaceousness, but also her comedic timing. Malia Walsh [who can also be seen in kids Fringe show Children Are Stinky] provided hilarious acro interludes, as well as her own aerial set atop a champagne bottle – complete with fluorescent stiletto ankle boots to a mashup soundtrack of Cyndi Lauper and Britney Spears! Next up was […]
March 5, 2023

Review: Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at Her Majesty’s Theatre

Opening the Adelaide Festival is one of the most famous pieces of English literature, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, a 1886 gothic novella by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. A defining book of the gothic horror genre, this novella has had a significant impact on popular culture, with the phrase ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ being used in colloquial speech to suggest people with an outwardly good but internally disturbingly evil nature as having two personalities. The story follows the protagonist, Gabriel Utterson, a London-based lawyer who investigates a series of strange occurrences between his old friend Dr Henry Jekyll and a murderous criminal named Edward Hyde. Becoming obsessed to save his friend, Utterson is determined to uncover the links between them, and in the process comes face to face with the disturbing truth. Brought to Adelaide by the same prodigious genius team of The Picture of Dorian Gray, director Kip Williams has transformed this old story by using a juxtaposition of live filming, moving screens and multimedia – what has now been dubbed […]
March 2, 2023

Review: Damian Callinan Double Feature at The Kingfisher

As with most shows I review, I refuse to do any research before enjoying the performance in the moment. And boy was I glad I came into this one cold. Damian Callinan, award winning actor, writer and comedian has a surprise discovery of his mother’s 1946 diary, filled with tid-bits of her every day; work life, volunteer commitments with wounded servicemen, church activities and her wild social frolics. However, through this journey of unmasking and revelation, more questions are raised than answered, so we go on a cinematic voyage with Callinan, as he turns his mother’s diary, as well as his father’s retirement journal into a double feature of love and loss, with his parents as the stars of the show. We play the part of the test audience – and his family all have special roles in the making of the ‘film’. Great nieces and nephews [who bear a striking resemblance to Damian’s mother – the genes are strong in this family] are the storyboarders, makeup artists and boom operators. A lovely inclusion that […]
February 17, 2023

Review: Edward Albee’s The Goat or, Who is Sylvia? at Dunstan Playhouse

What an explosive way to open the season State Theatre Company South Australia! Edward Albee’s The Goat or, Who is Sylvia? is probably one of the strangest theatre experiences I’ve come upon. But would we expect anything less from the playwright who brought us The Zoo Story and  Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? If you are wanting fascinating, intriguing and boundary pushing, then Albee’s your man. Albee adds the subtitle: Notes towards a definition of tragedy. The word tragedy is derived from the Ancient Greek word tragoedia which literally means goat song. The fundamentals of Greek tragedy are dotted throughout The Goat – violating the laws of human order, protagonists, usually powerful men or women, suffer not from moral flaw, but from error of judgement, the use of the Chorus who comment on the action of the story and give voice to the experiences before them. The Goat starts off conventionally and realistically, set in the stylish, geometric living room designed by Jeremy Allen. Heading up the family is Martin, played with astonishing ease by […]
January 22, 2023

Review: Frozen Jr at Influencers Theatre

If you are unfamiliar with the premise of Frozen, then perhaps you have been living under a rock for the last 10 years. Let me help you… Frozen is a musical with music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and book by Jennifer Lee, based on the 2013 film of the same name, which in turn was based on Hans Christian Andersen’s 1844 fairy-tale, The Snow Queen. Frozen Jr is a 60-minute adaptation of the full-length musical, centering on the relationship between two sisters who are princesses, Elsa and Anna. Elsa has magical powers to freeze objects and people, which she does not know how to control. After inheriting the throne, Elsa flees, inadvertently causing the kingdom to become frozen in an eternal winter, and nearly kills her sister. She must sacrifice and show true love to save the day. After seeing the professional show recently, a number of times, [ahem 7], I know this is a tricky show to stage, but when the opening lighting cue draws applause from the audience, you know […]
January 22, 2023

Review: West Side Story at Influencers Theatre

I tend to watch any production of West Side Story through rose-coloured glasses – it was the first musical experience I had with my dad, the 1994 Australian tour with musical theatre heavy weights Caroline O’Connor, Marina Prior and Todd McKenney. It remains my favourite musical of all time. There are moments when watching this production, that one forgets that the performers are indeed between the ages of 14 and 20, and they have not yet embarked on a professional career – that this is still them in ‘training’. And what a training ground Adelaide Youth Theatre is! To think that professionals have between 3 – 6 weeks of full day rehearsals, and these ‘kids’ brought this production to life in just two short weeks, is unfathomable. West Side Story is a musical conceived by Jerome Robbins with music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Arthur Laurents. Inspired by William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, the story is set in the mid-1950s in the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, then a multiracial, blue-collar neighbourhood. The musical explores […]
January 4, 2023

Review: Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap at Her Majesty’s Theatre

What a treat for the Adelaide folk to start 2023! John Frost for Crossroads Live has brought not one but two fantastic, albeit completely different, productions to our state and the audience are lapping it up! This time, it is the mounting of a new Australian production to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the opening of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap in London. Agatha Christie remains one of the most prolific writers of all time, spanning five decades and over 80 novels and short story collections. She wrote over 19 plays, of which the most famous, The Mouse Trap, is the longest running play in the world. With more than two billion books published, Christie is outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Not bad, huh? What began as a 30-minute radio drama called Three Blind Mice, commissioned as a present for the 80th birthday of Queen Mary, consort of King George V in 1947, the story drew from the real-life case of Dennis O’Neill who died after he and his brother Terence suffered abuse while […]
January 2, 2023

Review: Hairspray at The Festival Theatre

What a way to ring in the New Year at the fabulous Adelaide Festival Theatre, watching the opening night of Hairspray! Based on the 1988 film, written and directed by John Waters, this revival is true to the original Broadway version. A dramatic departure from Waters earlier works, the film was a moderate success, however, became a cult film in the 90s. In 2002, the film was adapted into a Broadway musical of the same name, which won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, in 2003. In 2022, Hairspray was selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry as being ‘culturally, historically or aesthetically significant’ Hairspray is an American musical with music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, with a book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan. Set in 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, the show follows self-proclaimed ‘pleasantly plump’ teenager Tracy Turnblad as she pursues stardom to dance on The Corny Collins Show, a local TV dance program based on the real-life Buddy Deane Show. When Tracy wins a role […]
November 13, 2022

Review: Single Asian Female at Dunstan Playhouse

Written by highly acclaimed author Michelle Law and first commissioned by and premiered at La Boite Theatre Company in Brisbane in 2017, Single Asian Female tells the knowing story of Pearl, the quintessential matriarch, balancing family, business, and her love of karaoke. Set inside the humble family restaurant on the Sunshine Coast, The Golden Phoenix, Pearl and her daughters are at a crossroads. Zoe, the eldest, is in the throes of online dating, and having a quarter life crisis. Typical teenager Mei, is struggling with her identity in modern Australia, trying to get ready for her formal and fit in with the cool crowd. Of course, they see the world differently to their mother. Pearl is the classic (hilarious) onslaught of embarrassing observations, constantly questioning her Westernised children. But she holds a secret that threatens to tear their family apart. Brilliantly directed by Nescha Jelk (Euphoria, Jasper Jones), she ensures this work never turns into a cartoon of stereotypes, but retains the authenticity and accurate portrayal of these first and second generation Australians. As a […]
June 18, 2023

Review: The Fig Tree at The Banquet Room

One of the things I love about the Adelaide Cabaret Festival is the unique and exclusive glimpse we have into new or developmental works. The Fig Tree by Gillian Cosgriff is one of those. With her famously sharp-witted lyrics and on the nose musical comedy, she presented a first reading of her brand new musical, The Fig Tree. Partly inspired by Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree, and a Sylvia Plath quote from The Bell Jar, Cosgriff workshopped scenes and songs with three other local artists over 5 days to bring excerpts of this new work exploring relationships, choice, irresolution, monogamy, figs, parallel universes and love. The tree in question is both representational and physical, and as we learn with each fig plucked from the tree, an alternate universe is created for both the female characters. Showcasing Cosgriff as the protagonist, Liv, Jamie Hornsby as her loving and homely partner Tom, Lachlan Williams as the young summer love Elliot and Philippa Lynas [and her pipes!] as Liv’s recently divorced sister, Tess, these four embodied the […]