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 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 […]