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 […]
February 3, 2020

Review: Seussical JR (Adelaide Youth Theatre) at the Arts Theatre

You’d think after seeing the older cast members perform Seussical, I’d be all ‘seussed’ out, but no, I’m back for more fun and frivolity with the younger performers in Seussical JR! Again, by rehearsing both shows at the same time, in the same time frame and performing in the same theatre, I’m surprised founders and producers Emma Riggs and Kerreane Sarti are still standing! Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat and all your favourite Dr. Seuss characters spring to life onstage in Seussical JR., a fantastical musical extravaganza from Tony-winners Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens. Well done to the talented production team of Director Ned Baulderstone, Musical Director Kate Neville and choreographer Teagan Fisher for navigating such elocutionary and rhetorical lyrics with such a young cast! Seussical Junior is a sung through musical based on the many children’s stories of Dr. Seuss, with most of its plot being based on ‘Horton Hears a Who!’ while incorporating many others such as Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!, McElligot’s Pool, The Butter Battle Book, If […]
February 3, 2020

Review: Seussical the Musical (Adelaide Youth Theatre) at the Arts Theatre

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Adelaide Youth Theatre. In it’s tenth year, founders and producers Emma Riggs and Kerreane Sarti have created an incredible platform and learning ground for Adelaide’s young musical theatre talent; fostering the craft and building the foundations for a potential professional career. This summer school holiday show, Seussical, was put together in 2 ½ weeks with a cast from the ages of 12 to 21. Just read that again… Two and a half weeks. The incredible music of Stephen Flaherty and lyrics of Lynn Ahrens, based on the works of the formidable Dr. Seuss, was brought to life by the AMAZING production team of dual Director and Musical Directors Serena Martino-Williams and Jesse Budel and fabulous choreographer Nina Richi. Seussical takes us into the world of Dr Seuss, where we visit his beloved characters including The Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, Lazy Mayzie and JoJo. The Cat in the Hat guides us into the Jungle of Nool where we meet Horton, the kind hearted […]
January 1, 2020

Review: Billy Elliot the Musical at the Festival Theatre

Billy. Elliot. Those two simple words fill my body with feelings of nostalgia, acceptance, tenacity, forgiveness and perseverance. When I first saw the film in the early 2000s, it made a lasting impression on me. Imagine my excitement, when Elton John wrote the music and Lee Hall provided the book and lyrics to turn this coming of age dance drama film into an award winning and global phenomenon musical. While Adelaide missed out on the original 2008/2009 tour, Universal Theatrical Group, Working Title Films, Greene Light Stage, Michael Coppel Entertainments and Louise Withers Presents are now bringing the 10th Anniversary Australian Tour to Adelaide for a limited run after a hugely successful Sydney season. For those who are unfamiliar with the story, the plot revolves around Billy, a motherless British boy who begins taking ballet lessons, which is polar opposite to his coal miner father and brother’s working class, union fighting beliefs. His ballet teacher, Mrs Wilkinson, recognises Billy’s potential, and suggests he audition for the Royal Ballet School in London. The story of his […]
October 27, 2019

Review: The Village at the Festival Theatre

On an unexpected wet and windy Adelaide night, Stan Lai’s The Village provided a heart-warming and comforting night at the theatre. Set at the end of the Civil War in 1949, in a Military Dependents Village in Chiayi, Taiwan, the story crosses a span of 50 years and three generations – the Zhao, Zhu and Zhou families. From the first generation fleeing mainland China after the Kuomintang was defeated, yearning to go back home, to building temporary homes which become their permanent homes, The Village traces the lives of these families and explores themes of identity, belonging and community. Drawing from real life stories in such villages, acclaimed legendary director, Stan Lai has captured poignant experiences and crafted an epic and masterful theatre production that depicts a true, touching history of Taiwan. We are introduced to the first generation, who settled into their makeshift village home, Formosa Village One, after fleeing to safety in Taiwan. It was presumed to be a temporary refugee exile, but transformed into a permanent communal melting pot that would vibrantly […]
October 18, 2019

Review: Techno Circus at the Dustan Playhouse

You know you are in for a zany night out when critics have described this show as ‘multi-layered hyperactivity for the stage’. Bringing my 11 year old son as my date/fellow critic, we walk into the theatre to see a parade of audience members having their photos taken on stage in various states of crazy poses. We discover these photos are then used as part of the shows finale. More on that later. Techno Circus is presented by SIRO-A, a group described as ‘Japan’s answer to the Blue Man Group’. Personally, I loved these guys more! SIRO-A are renowned worldwide for their spectacular performances that combine special effects, incredible projections, mime, dance, puppetry, comedy, illusion and high energy techno music. They have wowed audiences of all ages with their Golden Buzzer winning act from America’s Got Talent, attracted millions of views on YouTube, sold out shows across the globe, and now are ready to take Adelaide on a ride as part of the Adelaide Festival Centre’s Oz Asia Festival. This show is a feast for […]
October 13, 2019

Review: Hairspray Jnr at Adelaide Youth Theatre

When asked to review Adelaide Youth Theatre’s (AYT) production of Hairspray Jnr, I jumped at the opportunity. This ain’t my first AYT rodeo, and most definitely won’t be my last. AYT are widely known to produce world class productions for youth performers, and this show reinforces their reputation. Hairspray is an American musical with music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman, and book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, based on the 1988 John Waters movie of the same name. The songs include 1960s-style dance music (my favourite!) and ‘downtown’ rhythm and blues Set in 1962 Baltimore, generously sized teenager, Tracy Turnblad’s dream is 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 on the show, much to the current star Amber Von Tussle’s dismay, she becomes a celebrity overnight, wins the heart of the local teen idol, Link Larkin and leads the town to social change as Tracy campaigns for the show’s integration. I absolutely […]
June 17, 2019

Review: Paul Capsis with Jethro Woodward and the Fitzroy Youth Orchestra at The Famous Spiegeltent

Paul Capsis. The man, the myth, the enigma. I have been a fan of Capsis’ since I watched him explode on the screen in ‘Head On’. Then seeing him as the totally mad, flamboyant reincarnation of Rumpelstiltskin in the State Theatre and Windmill collaboration – I was smitten. An award-winning, versatile, original and seasoned performer, he knows how to turn it on and turn it up. And he has been non stop since. Making a dramatic entrance and belching out the Skyhooks 70s classic ‘Ego is Not a Dirty Word’, we realise that this will be a night full of unexpected eccentricities and rip-roaring, emotion charged entertainment. And not only with Capsis out front, but with the marvellous and musically gifted Jethro Woodward and The Fitzroy Youth Orchestra supporting, we knew we were going to be witnessing something of a rarity. Wrapped in leather, fur and jewels, Capsis informs us he received a call from Julia Zemiro to be part of the Ad Cab Fest in 2019, after a five year absence. However, she had […]
June 15, 2019

Review: Bobby Fox The Irish Boy at the Dunstan Playhouse

Settling into the Dunstan Playhouse on a cold and dreary night, the only thing we needed to warm the cockles was a pint and a good story. Thankfully, we got both. Entering dressed in a kilt to wolf whistles from the crowd, the stage slowly lit up each musician as they joined in the opening song. And what an eclectic mix of musos it was! After learning the correct Irish way to cheer for a song you like (Yeaow!, if you are curious), the audience went wild when the dazzling talents of the fantastic Mr Fox were unveiled. A remarkably charming, charismatic and captivating stage performer, Mr Fox (I enjoy referring to him in this formal manner) brings his distinctive storytelling, song, dance and limericks all wrapped up in his delectable Irish accent, to Adelaide for the first time. If it sounds like I’m crushing on Bobby, you’d be right. What’s not to love about a handsome, blue eyed, tap dancing, kilt wearing Irish man who sings songs about loving Bonnie lasses and his ma’m? […]
June 12, 2019

Review: Unsung at The Space Theatre

The scene was established the moment you walked into The Space Theatre. Filled with orchards and peacock feathers strung from the balcony as well as the iconic peacock chairs from the era of the 70s sitting near the front of the stage. A beautiful setting for an incredible show. The crowd was full of baby boomers, and some youngins like myself, ready for the music of the night…a celebration of the music by the women in Australia during the 50s, 60s and 70s. We first saw a projected video of Merle Thornton and Rosalie Bognor who famously chained themselves to the bar at the Regatta Hotel, Brisbane in 1965, not only to gain women’s right to drink at a bar with men, but to bring to light the real issues women were facing at the time – equal pay, equal treatment and a revision of the sexist laws that plagued Australia. The very talented Amelia Ryan, of Simply the Breast and The Breast is Yet to Come fame, cleverly brought to life the unsung women […]
June 10, 2019

Review: The Hot Sardines at The Famous Spiegeltent

When I was a young performing arts student living in Perth, I frequented the jazz bars and underground clubs scouring the city for the hip, sweet sounds of the ragtime blues. My housemate at the time was a jazz muso, so I had big band rehearsals in my house all the time. It’s safe to say, I have a soft spot for this style. Tonight, as part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, we were packed like sardines in The Famous Spiegeltent, to see The Hot Sardines. With the house full sign out front, we were ready to be dazzled by this New York based jazz ensemble. Co-led by lead singer Elizabeth Bougerol and pianist Evan Palazzo, she tells the story of how they met at a jazz jam advertised on Craig’s List. She was looking for a piano player, but not just any piano player. One who knew and understood a particular song, Fats Waller ‘Your Feet’s too Big’. She asked Evan if he knew the song and the rest as they say, is history. […]
June 6, 2019

Review: End of the Rainbow at The Royalty Theatre

Like most little girls, my first memories of Judy Garland have something to do with a yellow brick road, an emerald city and red slippers. I watched in awe of this young girl skipping and singing her way into my heart and I too wanted to be part of her seemingly magical and perfect life. But End of the Rainbow doesn’t paint a pretty picture of Garland’s last days; instead it rips you through the bright lights and dark pits that tormented her, enabled her, and eventually killed her. The regal, old Royalty Theatre provided the perfect backdrop for The Ritz Hotel London, 1969, where Garland was preparing for a 5 week stint at Talk of the Town nightclub. Orchestrated and managed by her fifth and final husband, Mickey Deans, with her long suffering accompanist, Anthony Chapman, we watch the relationship between the three characters bounce between banter, comedy, hatred, power, joy, pain, love and truth. And bear witness to the mental and physical decline of the world’s darling. Peter Quilter’s worldwide smash brings to […]
May 27, 2019

Review: Katie’s Birthday Party at the John Bishop Room, Adelaide Festival Centre

Bringing my nearly 11 year old son, who has just moved schools and is making new friends, to a one woman show about the trials and tribulations of a young girls journey from childhood to adolescence, seemed very timely and opportune. I remember my twelve year old self as slightly sensitive, hopeful, emotional and enthusiastic and I suspect, after a few personal conversations with my own pre-pubescent son, he feels the same. Internationally acclaimed solo performer, Mary-Frances Doherty gives a remarkable and real performance of 12 year old Katie, who is very happy we all could attend her birthday party. She is disappointed her best friend, Tracy, couldn’t come – she was busy making an appearance at another party. To begin with, Katie is very flippant about Tracy not being able to be there, but by the end, she is openly and visibly upset; the least she could do was answer her calls, like her posts or share her videos! In a vulnerable, exposed and intimate horseshoe setting, we are thrown together to celebrate Katie’s […]
May 27, 2019

Review: The Gruffalo at Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre

If you have children, and perhaps even if you don’t, you have almost definitely read The Gruffalo. A children’s classic by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler which has sold over 13 million copies, won several prizes for children’s literature, has an Oscar nominated animated film, it is now also the play which has had sell out seasons on Broadway and London’s West End. The story of The Gruffalo is based on a Chinese folk tale of a fox that borrows the terror of a tiger, however Donaldson was unable to think of rhymes for ‘tiger’ so instead invented a word that rhymes with ‘know’. And the rest, as they say, is history… The mouse’s tale is one that unfolds in two phases; whereby the mouse uses crafty tricks to circumvent danger. On his way through the deep dark wood, the mouse encounters several dangerous animals (a cunning fox, an eccentric, sergeant-type owl and a maraca wielding snake). Each of these animals, clearly intending to eat the mouse, invite him back to their home for a […]
March 18, 2019

Review: Barnum at the Goodwood Institute

March Productions debut musical offering, Barnum, is a night of triumph, energy and monumental talent. With a perfectly simple, but effective set we are transported to the 1800s, where Anna and Amy Beecher take us on a historical journey with pictures and artefacts of Barnum’s life as we take our seats. P.T Barnum truly was an intriguing man, with a knack for promotion and humbug. This sets the scene for the extravaganza we are about to experience. Our first introduction to Barnum is him running through the audience with gusto, to end up on stage and immediately breaking the 4th wall to narrate his story. I am instantly drawn into Jayden Prelc’s portrayal of Barnum – charismatic, magnetic, dynamic, not to mention his natural comedic timing and prodigious voice. He navigated the wordy script and musical numbers with such relish. A true and rare performer of his age, I anticipate a professional career in his near future. Watch this space. His Charity Barnum, played by Alana Iannace, was sublime. She had steely strength and independence, […]
January 27, 2019

Review: Last of the Red Hot Lovers at Bakehouse

Walking into the Bakehouse Theatre this evening was a burst of fresh air. No, literally. It was 45 degrees outside. And fittingly, I was going in to see Neil Simon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers. This offering is the fourth for Starc Productions, Adelaide’s newest full-time professional theatre company, a collaboration between Marc Clement, Stefanie Rossi and theatre gem Tony Knight. Starc’s sentiment is to produce plays with minimal set design, thus allowing the actors to take, for lack of a better phrase, centre stage. This was evident upon entering the theatre – a clean, classic set in white and red. Stylised as such that the key timekeepers – the clock and telephone – were in bold red, while the couch and table were white. I liked the addition of the apples on the table; a suggestion of sexual seduction perhaps? Set in 1969, to the tunes of Bacharach, Barney Cashman, a middle aged, married, fish restaurateur, wishes to join the sexual revolution. Unbeknownst to him, it’s not that easy. In three acts we […]