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

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

May 24, 2024

Review: Candide by State Theatre Company and State Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre

Leonard Bernstein’s Candide is a whimsical odyssey through the absurdities and contradictions of life, wrapped in a delightful musical package. With a libretto by luminaries such as Lillian Hellman, Richard Wilbur, and Stephen Sondheim, this operatic adaptation of Voltaire’s satirical novella is a tour de force of wit, comedy, and poignant reflection. From the opening notes of the overture, Bernstein’s score sweeps the audience into a world of adventure and uncertainty. The music, ranging from jubilant melodies to melancholic ballads, serves as the perfect backdrop for Candide’s journey from naïveté to wisdom. Underneath the lively surface, there’s a depth of emotion and intellect that resonates long after the final note. The cast of characters is as colourful as they come, each representing a facet of the human condition. Candide himself, is the eternal optimist, navigating a series of misfortunes with unwavering hope, while his beloved Cunegonde, grapples with the moral complexities of survival. From the cynical Dr Pangloss to the pragmatic Old Lady, every role is infused with personality and purpose. Accomplished tenor, Alexander Lewis […]
May 22, 2024

Review: Symphonie of the Bicycle at The Space Theatre

Symphonie of the Bicycle by Hew Parham is a captivating theatrical production that intertwines physical theatre, multimedia, and narrative storytelling to celebrate the joy, history, and cultural impact of bicycles and the Tour de France. Parham, known for his dynamic performance style, masterfully combines humour, poignant moments, and a touch of whimsy to create a rich, immersive experience. The show is a one-hander, with Parham embodying multiple characters and reciting various stories that highlight the significance of bicycles throughout different eras and societies. His versatility as a performer is evident as he shifts seamlessly between personas, bringing each character to life with distinct voices, mannerisms, and emotional depth. The transitions are smooth and often infused with a comedic touch that keeps the audience engaged and entertained. A standout aspect of Symphonie of the Bicycle is its innovative use of multimedia. Projections, soundscapes, and music are cleverly integrated, enhancing the storytelling and providing a dynamic backdrop that complements Parham’s physicality. The sound design, in particular, deserves special mention for its ability to evoke the sensation of […]
May 1, 2024

Review: Tina – The Tina Turner Musical at Festival Theatre

Adelaide has now been privy to not one, but two huge productions about the lives of the greatest rock and roll stars ever lived. This almighty production of Tina – The Tina Turner Musical will have you weeping in your seat, and dancing in the aisles. First developed in 2016 with book by Katori Hall, Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins, Turner and her husband Erwin Back both served as Executive Producers to ensure the truth and integrity of her life story. Tina – The Tina Turner Musical electrifies the stage with a powerful portrayal of the iconic singer’s life, delivering a captivating blend of music, drama, and inspiration. As the curtains rise, the heartbeat of her hit ‘Simply the Best’ with the 80s Tina sitting cross legged chanting before going on stage hits the core. The audience is transported through Turner’s remarkable journey, from her humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, to her meteoric rise to stardom and her triumphant emergence as the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll. One of the most astonishing aspects of the […]
April 21, 2024

Review: Little Women the Broadway Musical at Scott Theatre

Elder Conservatorium Music Theatre have done it again, with a superb graduating class production to rival any professional show touring the country. Little Women, a coming-of-age story written by American novelist Louisa May Alcott, was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. The tale follows the lives of the four March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy – and tells of their passage from childhood to womanhood. Loosely based on the lives of the author and her three sisters, they travel along the novel’s narrative arc, each with their own story, climax and resolution. An immediate commercial and critical success, the novel addresses the major themes of ‘domesticity, work and true love, all interdependent and each necessary to the achievement of it’s heroine’s individual identity’. Such its success, Little Women has been adapted into film no less than seven times, multiple stage and television adaptations and this version debuted on Broadway in 2005. With book by Allan Knee, lyrics by Mindi Dickstein and music by Jason Howland, there is so much to […]
April 10, 2024

Review: Elvis A Musical Revolution at Her Majesty’s Theatre

The Legend, The Icon, The King has arrived in Adelaide to rock and roll skirts, blue suede shoes and kiss curls galore! An incredible new production about the life of the greatest and most influential rock and roll artist of the twentieth century, Elvis Presley is here, but not for long! Based on a concept by Floyd Mutrux and book by Sean Cercone and David Abbinanti, this musical [surprise, surprise!] features many hits from the King. Elvis is not only a cultural icon, but he gave a voice to entire generation, and the impact of his music still lives on today. This musical is a vertical narrative of Elvis’ life, from his humble beginnings in Tupelo Mississippi to the masterpiece that was the ’68 Comeback Special. Australian audiences are especially lucky, as this production is premiering right here on our home soil, with Australian talent across the cast and creatives. The story starts backstage in 1968, and then travels back and forth through time with clever projections and sets reminding us of the year we […]
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 […]
March 18, 2016

Easter… Hop to it!

Easter is the time to celebrate the change in season, indulge in way too much chocolate and revel in the long weekend. But it’s also an egg-cellent excuse to shop, so here’s my cracking good list for an egg-ceptional Easter (too many puns? Never!)   DECORATIONS Let’s get the decorations and the table ready for lunch at General Trader and Bed Bath N’ Table. These sweet egg cups are just $2.99 and will be used not just for decorating the table (egg soldiers on Easter Monday anyone?). Follow that up with cute egg cosys for $5.99 and pop this LED porcelain bunny ($19.95) in the middle of the table as your centrepiece, and voila, table sorted! For even more sweet deals hop into General Trader for 30% off all Easter product right now. At Bed Bath N’ Table, they have a huge range of decorations including table bunnies ($12.95) and chickens in white, green fuzzy and rose gold. Egg ornaments (any excuse to pull out my wooden tree), little baskets from $6.95 can be hung like bunting […]
January 25, 2016

Whoa, whoa, I gotta go… back to school… again!

Yes, I’m referencing the B-grade sequel to Grease… but you gotta admit, the songs were pretty catchy… Grease 2 aside, yes, it is back to school already! Gah! Where did my summer holidays go?? Oh, that’s right, entertaining my kiddies so they wouldn’t complain to me about being bored (which they did anyway!!). Seriously, schools hols are so expensive…. Which is why I’ve put together my budget friendly, outlet loving back to school shopping guide. Let’s go…   BACKPACKS Where do I start? Strandbags, Victoria Station Clearance, Bags and Luggage Direct all have a great range of kids kindy or school backpacks, but when I spotted Ben and Holly at Bags to Go for under $15, I knew my daughter would lose the plot. Done deal… They also had a super cute Play School backpack with educational features on it for under $25…awesome! For the tweens, JT Surf has them covered. A wall of Billabong, Roxy and Santa Cruz starting from $35 (down from $70) just waiting to be slung over the shoulder of the […]
September 2, 2015

Shopping for Father’s Day – tips and bargains!

Last minute bargain Father’s Day Ideas… With Fathers Day just around the corner, I thought I’d help you all out with some top tips on where to shop for the special blokes in your life. You’re welcome. Harbour Town caters for just about every type of dad there is. For the cool casual dad, I’d be heading to Connor, Gazman, Roger David and Oxford. Ed Harry have a great range of new season shirts at outlet prices and at Tarocash there are chinos and shirts as far as the eye can see. If your dad is more into sweating it out then check out Adidas, Fila Brand Direct, Intersport, Sports Power and Converse. Brooks Factory Direct have a huge sale with their runners at more than 50% off! Where at JT Surf, your skater dad can hold onto his youth a little bit more with big surf brands like Hurley, Rip Curl and Santa Cruz. Perhaps you need to shop a more mature look? We’ve got that covered too. Stafford Ellinson, Rivers and Black Pepper […]
August 11, 2015

Shop, coffee, shop, coffee and repeat…

Big shopping week, so to fuel up, I start at Silvana Cafe where a coffee and cake deal gives me the caffeine and sugar hit required to go the distance. Yummo. Time for nails. Paris Nails and Beauty have this fandagalled product called SNS, which lasts longer than shellac and is better for your nails than acrylic. I love! And only $45. Once a month, add that to my beauty regime.. Speaking of regime, I really need to exercise more, and I can’t do that without the correct undergarments holding everything in place (read: boobs). So I head into Bonds, as I’ve just discovered they stock a massive range of Berlei. And these are my absolute fave sports bras. Oh, and they have 30% off. Bonus!! Another awesome find if you are new to Harbour Town…Union Clothing are a huge stockist for cmeo collective and Finders Keepers The Label…but at a fraction of the cost. And today, they have racks and racks of stuff at $79.99 and $99.99!! Good gawd… For those that know me, […]