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

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

June 21, 2022

Review: Hayden Tee Bad Guy at The Dunstan Playhouse

Hayden Tee (Ngāti Kahungunu), best known for his award-winning portrayal of Javert in the Australian, New Zealand, Broadway, West End and Dubai productions of Les Misérables and for playing Ms Trunchbull in the West End production of Matilda the Musical, brings his out-of-the-pandemic, solo show to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival for one night only. With an introduction stating he is just like Jessica Rabbit; ‘he’s not bad, he’s just drawn that way’ – this sentence carries the very important message that threads through the show’s songs and storytelling. Bad Guy is an impressive musical plunge into the concept of villainy, as Tee shares his own personal journey in lifting the colonial cloak of shame and proudly embracing his own Takatāpui identity and celebration of his culture. With an absolutely exquisite live symphonic accompaniment, Tee pulls and weaves, peeling back the layers of some of musical theatre’s most detestable characters to really examine what is good and what is bad. Beginning with a sensational re-imagining of Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’, his rich and luscious sound reverberates through […]
June 19, 2022

Review: Reuben Kaye Live and Intimate at The Banquet Room

The atmosphere at this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival has been palpable – energised, revitalised and empowered even. This audience vibe is strengthened and galvanised. And this feeling is substantiated by none other than performer for the people, Reuben Kaye in his pared down, one night only Live and Intimate show. From his beginnings in the UK in 2010 as an acerbic host for cabaret and burlesque shows, Kaye began work as a solo artist in 2016, with his first appearance in Adelaide in 2017 with his original show The Butch is Back. Kaye returns to Adelaide with his distinguishable spider lashes and luscious red lips to shock, entertain and remind us of the true origins of cabaret. With his voice glistening like liquid gold, he began in the centre of the room, firing off with his signature quick wit, banter and one liners before bestowing us with his rendition of ‘Long List of Troubles’ by Gregory Porter. This is an artist who doesn’t skirt around issues or mince his words – and the audience made […]
June 12, 2022

Review: The Pina Colada Room at The Famous Spiegeltent, Festival Plaza

Looking for a late party to finish off your Cabaret experience? Then look no further than The Pina Colada Room at The Famous Spiegeltent, set on the new Festival Plaza. Playing each Friday, Saturday and Sunday night of the Festival season, this decadent homage to the icons of disco is the hottest ticket in town. Opening night had host Reuben Kaye warming up the crowd before guests Cath Alcorn, Phil Scott and Trevor Jones got the party started. Singing their absolute banger, a re-working of the Phil Collins classic ‘In The Air Tonight’ Alcorn and Scott show us just why they are Cabaret royalty. Trevor Jones brings his classic piano belters from bar to club to provide the timeless night cap of showtunes. Reuben Kaye, the fast talking, loud, politically active and brash cabaret sensation is the perfect host – he is extraordinary, and if you ever have the opportunity to see him, do whatever you can to score a ticket. No two nights are the same, with an ever rotating record of DJ’s, cabaret […]
June 12, 2022

Review: 30 Something at The Space Theatre for Cabaret Festival

Opening night of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival always has an air about it, and tonight the excitement was palpable, as the crowd descended to the Space Theatre, entering the era of New Year’s Eve 1939. My favourite Queen of Cabaret, Catherine Alcorn and the maestro of mischief, Phil Scott, come together to take us back to Bohemia Kings Cross, 1939 and countdown the dramatic era that is 30 Something. She’s been wowing and working Hollywood, while he’s been playing Queanbeyan, but together they reunite for an immersive party to the speak-easy days, through the lens of modern re-imagined bangers such as ‘Gangster’s Paradise’, ‘Step Back in Time’ and ‘Born This Way’ dipped with 30’s classics by Fats Waller and Bing Crosby. Not only is Ms Alcorn a gorgeous human, she is also an absolute powerhouse vocalist, consummate professional and cabaret stalwart. A subtle glance, a side eye and a whole of sass, this woman has the audience eating out of the palm of her hand…and that is before she has even sung a single, raunchy […]
June 12, 2022

Review: Don Juan at The Space Theatre for Adelaide Cabaret Festival

Upon entering The Space theatre, decked out with some cabaret tables and the remaining area as a seated theatrette, we are greeted by members of the cast who are mingling and introducing themselves, getting to know the audience members. Little did we know that these primers will form part of the show later…. Don Juan, presented by New Zealand company A Slightly Isolated Dog, is a brilliant experience in audience participation, chaos, comedy and delight. Based on the legendary, fictional character of Spanish libertine, Don Juan, the cast take us on a journey of the story of the famous womaniser. A wealthy man who devotes his life to seducing women, Don Juan takes great pride in his ability to seduce women of all ages and stations in life, and he often disguises himself and assumes other identities to fulfill his seduction. Don Juan lives by the aphorism ‘Tan largo me lo fiais’ which is his way of indicating that he is young, and death is distant. He also believes he has plenty of time to […]
May 30, 2022

Review: SIX at Her Majesty’s Theatre

Divorced. Beheaded. Died. Divorced. Beheaded. Survived. When I had heard about a musical written by two university friends about the wives of King Henry VIII, I was intrigued. Fast forward five years and this Bridgerton meets Britney pop musical sensation is in Australia, after touring the world with countless accolades. A musical comedy with book, music and lyrics by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, SIX is based on the historical lives of the six wives of Henry VIII. A modern retelling presented as a pop concert as the Queens take it in turns singing and spilling their story, vying to win the title of ‘most suffered’ and ultimately become the lead singer of the group. The opening anthem ‘Ex-Wives’ blew the roof off – with a dazzling display of arena style lighting, bursting with girl power and a dynamic team of performers. The first wife to tell her version of events is Catherine of Aragon played with Beyonce and Shakira vibes by Phoenix Jackson Mendosa. Her song ‘No Way’ recounts her anger with Henry as […]
May 3, 2022

Review: Into the Woods by Adelaide Youth Theatre at Star Theatre

Another outstanding production from Adelaide Youth Theatre for 2022 is Into the Woods. With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine, the incredible production team of Emma Riggs and Kerreane Sarti deliver once again a high quality show that spotlights the burgeoning young talent of South Australia. Into the Woods intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters wishes and quests. The main characters are taken from Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and Cinderella. The musical is tied together by a story involving a witch whom tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from these classic fairy tale characters to reverse the curse put on their family tree. While not a typical sung through musical, the dialogue in the show is characterised by the use syncopated speech, and delivered with a fixed beat or kind of spoken song. This was not a junior version, but a solid two and a half hour full show. I’ve always […]
April 30, 2022

Review: A Streetcar Named Desire at The Bakehouse Theatre

It’s a sad day when Adelaide institution, The Bakehouse Theatre, must close to make way for a carpark, but completing its tenure with Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, is to go out with a bang! Williams’ most popular work, A Streetcar Named Desire is one of the most critically acclaimed plays of the 20th century. There is so much to digest, interpret and analyse with this classic piece; the text directions, the naturalistic language, the overarching symbolism, the expressionism concepts, and the functions of the characters, to name but a few. This is why Streetcar is a firm favourite of dramaturgs all across the world! Set in the French Quarter of New Orleans during the restless years following World War Two, A Streetcar Named Desire is the story of Blanche DuBois, a fragile and neurotic woman on a desperate prowl for someplace in the world to call her own. After being exiled from her hometown for seducing a seventeen-year-old boy at the school where she taught English, Blanche explains her unexpected appearance on Stanley […]
March 31, 2022

Review: Constellations at The Bakehouse

Every now and then, a simple but affecting play lands in my lap and it is my duty to ensure as many people as possible can experience the joy, power and preciousness of these works. Constellations, is one such play. Suppose that life exists in a multiverse – a set of parallel existences that contain infinitely different futures. The possibilities in our lives are, quite literally, endless. Every possible event that could happen, does happen, in one universe or another. And if two people meet – are drawn together in every version of existence – every possible happy ending and heartbreak that could transpire, will. Marianne, a physicist, and Roland, a beekeeper, meet at a barbeque. They hit it off and go for a drink. Or maybe they don’t. They go home together, or possibly they go their separate ways. Perhaps Marianne is engaged to someone else, perhaps Roland is. Maybe she breaks his heart, maybe he breaks hers. Possibly they come together and their love story can finally be cemented and develop, or perhaps […]
March 27, 2022

Review: The 2022 Variety Gala at The Festival Theatre

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. While held earlier in the year for the first time, [blame a little show called Frozen for that] this did not deter the droves of punters ready to devour the tastings on offer for 2022. Hosted by the sarcastic and sardonic Paul McDermott, who scrubbed up quite nicely after a shave and haircut since I last saw him, the night’s theme was decadence, magic and revelry. This was hurled at us in spades. Isaac Hannam, began with an enigmatic welcome to country before throwing open the stage to the incomparable and iconic Tina Arena. I must admit, I’ve never seen her sing live in the flesh, and boy oh boy, is she worth waiting for. This years Artistic Director was silky and soulful and everything you expect from the star. Singing classics ‘Church’ and ‘Burn’ she was both gloriously effortless and sophisticated while ferocious and unstoppable at the same time. […]
March 20, 2022

Review: Hans – A Night at the Symph-Honey! at The Thebarton Theatre

I remember first meeting Hans at the Weimer Room back in 2003; a tall, thin and lanky teenager who was the interval act and compere at the weekly cabaret shows that were hosted in the dingy, Berlin-esque bar. He had a multitude of talent back then – all singing, all tapping, all accordion playing comedian, so it is hardly surprising he has reached the dizzying heights of Berlin boy wonder today. One might call it a self-fulfilling prophecy, as he has always dubbed himself ‘an international superstar’ Manifestation at its finest! Hans A Night at the Symph HONEY! marks his return to the stage since the dreaded C-word took hold of the arts world and spun it through the wringer. But being the stalwarts that we are, we dusted ourselves off and prepared for retribution. A what a night of reckoning it was! The magnificent Thebby Theatre was electric – both literally and metaphorically – as the highly regarded 18-piece Adelaide Concert Orchestra, ahem, The Ungrateful Bastards Orchestra, took to the stage to rapturous applause. […]
March 14, 2022

Review: Retail Reality at The Lark at Gluttony

A self-proclaimed glamorous bogan, Amelie Peters is a classically trained singer, international performer and accredited vocal coach who burst onto the stage with her flame hair and sequin covered curves. Just like a real-life Jessica Rabbit – but with personality and pipes! This young cabaret diva takes us through an hour of painlessly pitched parodies, cracking covers and her own original songs interspersed with stories and anecdotes from her [agonizing] years as a retail assistant. Let’s face it – we’ve either all been the retail worker who knows exactly what she is talking about or are the customer she’s lamenting about – either way, this show is for everyone! With satires of ‘9 – 5’, based on the irregular working hours of retail casuals, to the Whitney Houston/ Andrea Boccelli ‘I will always love you/Time to Say Goodbye’ medley – as an ode to her finally leaving her retail job, Peters has her full voice, and acting range on display. From a soft alto, to belting chest voice, flipping right up into the highest of […]
March 14, 2022

Review: The 60 Four at Norwood Concert Hall

Having grown up with the songs of the 60s and 70s thanks to my parents, it felt fitting to bring my mum to enjoy the musical extravaganza that is The 60 Four. A group of four young men, three of whom met in music class at school, who found and fell in love with the sound of the 60s back in 2015, thanks to cabaret performer Michael Griffiths. After performing a Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons medley for an awards night, they received a standing ovation and were immediately booked for three gigs. Luckily for us, they have continued to hone and explore more music of the era, extending their repertoire into a two-hour show, jam packed with slick suits and even slicker choreography. With a venue as brilliantly suited to this style as the Norwood Concert Hall, and a stage set up to rival any celebrity playing in town, the boys roar onto the stage, decked out in matching green velvet jackets to bust out ‘Sherry’ from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, […]
March 8, 2022

Review: Classical Mystery Tour at The Moa, Gluttony

When I saw the marketing for the Classical Mystery Tour, I thought this would be perfect for my Beatles loving, drumming mad son. Not to mention, I grew up on the sounds of the rocking 60s and swinging 70s, so this world premiere of the legendary Beatles album, Magical Mystery Tour was right up my alley. Staged at The Moa, the famous outdoor venue at Adelaide Fringe’s Gluttony, this concert, at a pre-sunset time, was, quite literally, a magical ride through the soundtrack. Magical Mystery Tour album was born after The Beatles completed Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band  in April 1967. McCartney wanted to create a film that captured a theme of a psychedelic bus ride with McCartney’s memories of Liverpudlians holidaying on coach tours. The film was to be unscripted; various ‘ordinary’ people were to travel on a coach and have unspecified ‘magical’ adventures. Despite the widespread media condemnation of the film, the 1967 soundtrack release was a critical and commercial success. With Magical Mystery Tour, The Beatles continued their studio experimentation that […]
March 7, 2022

Review: MACRO at Village Green, Adelaide Oval

An official opening night spectacular, MACRO is the merging of talent, culture, strength, and human connection. Lucky to have witnessed both Gravity & Other Myths [GOM] The Pulse and Djuki Mala previously, I was keen to see what this collaboration event would bring. Adelaide Festival Co-Director, Neil Armfield gave a heartfelt and humorous introduction, informing the 7000 strong crowd that MACRO is a co-commission between Adelaide Festival and Edinburgh International Festival, where it will tour later in the year. The beautiful and profound live welcome to country was an incredible ceremony to witness, with the entire cast of acrobats, performers and singers entering the stage to be cleansed with the spirit before seamlessly beginning the show. While there was much the same with the original Pulse production, this version was an utterly full partnership between GOM, Djuki Mala, Adelaide’s celebrated youth  vocal ensemble Aurora and a trio of Scotland’s most esteemed contemporary folk musicians. With big screens on either side of the massive stage, lighting rigs to rival any superstar concert and voices reverberating through […]
March 5, 2022

Review: The Rite of Spring/common ground[s] at Her Majesty’s Theatre

There are certain opportunities in life that are unmissable, and beholding Pina Bausch’s The Rite of Spring is one of those momentous occasions. A German dancer and choreographer who was a significant contributor to a neo-expressionist dance tradition now known as Tanztheater, Bausch’s approach was noted for a stylized blend of dance movement, prominent sound design, and involved stage sets, as well as for engaging the dancers under her to help in the development of a piece. Her work, regarded as a continuation of the European and American expressionist movements, incorporated many expressly dramatic elements and often explored themes connected to trauma, particularly trauma arising out of relationships. From this, she created the company Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, which performs internationally to this day. Her thrilling Frühlingsopfer (The Rite of Spring), created in 1975, caused a stir in the dance world with its stark depiction, in which the Chosen One is sacrificed to gratify the misogyny of the surrounding men, all while dancing on a stage entirely covered in soil. Based on the ballet and orchestral concert work by composer Igor Stravinsky, The Rite is described by […]
March 1, 2022

Review: 360 ALLSTARS at The Flamingo at Gluttony

360 ALLSTARS, the phenomenal physical worldwide smash, that has been selling out Broadway, Edinburgh and the Sydney Opera House, is back at the Fringe! A show which features and explores all forms of rotation, 360 ALLSTARS connects the elite street to the masses to deliver a supercharged urban extravaganza. Boasting a stellar cast of young, hip and impossibly talented artists, including the 2x World Champion BMX Flatlander, two champion break-dancers, an internationally acclaimed basketball freestyler, and a World Record holding Cyr wheel artist, 360 ALLSTARS is a spectacular fusion of the extraordinary skill and originality that begins from street culture. Add to this a stunning live soundtrack delivered by US MC and live looping vocalist, Mirrah, and multi-award-winning master musician, producer and visionary Gene Peterson combined with incredible video projections, 360 ALLSTARS is as aurally exciting as it is visually astounding. As The Flamingo filled to almost capacity, we are treated to an intro of all the talent who will be entertaining us. Starting with B-Boy Sette, a champion break-dancer from Melbourne. A dancer for […]
February 28, 2022

Review: Roald Dahl and the Imagination Seekers at The Flamingo

‘Those who don’t believe in magic, will never find it’ Roald Dahl I, for one, am a magic believer, which is why I adore live theatre. And these words were beamed in front of us, as if to test our faith during this delightful and captivating children’s show, Roald Dahl and the Imagination Seekers. Presented by Get Lost & Found Ltd, Puffin and the Roald Dahl Story Company in association with Interactive Theatre International, a UK based theatre company that produces and promotes interactive comedy theatre, the show is an immersive and collective performance between two actors, and the audience. First commissioned in 2015 by Puffin Books to create a new children’s theatre show based on the works of the world’s number one storyteller Roald Dahl. This show was performed all over the UK and Ireland. In 2019, a collaboration with Roald Dahl Story Company created this new show and has been touring the world since. Especially conceived for ages six and up, the show fosters both imaginative and literacy skills through performance, games and […]
February 28, 2022

Review: Blindness at The Queens Theatre

The curation of art during the Adelaide Festival is at it’s impeccable best with the addition of Blindness. Based on the 1995 novel by Portuguese Nobel Prize winner, Jose Saramago, Blindness is a socially distanced sound installation, produced by the Donmar Warehouse, adapted by Simon Stephens and directed by Walter Meierjohann. This latest version not only fits perfectly within the world we currently live, but the story is not far off from the sentiment of issues either. Blindness is the chronicle of an unexplained mass epidemic of blindness infecting nearly everyone in an unnamed city, and the social breakdown that swiftly follows. The story follows a handful of unnamed characters who are among the first to be wounded with blindness, including an ophthalmologist and several of his patients. The ophthalmologist’s spouse, “the doctor’s wife,” is mysteriously immune to the blindness. After a lengthy and traumatic quarantine in an asylum, the group bands together in a family-like unit to survive by their wits and by the good fortune that the doctor’s wife has escaped the blindness. […]
February 28, 2022

Review: 27 Club at The Moa at Gluttony

After missing out on seeing this rock show at last year’s Fringe, I finally got to witness the hype that is 27 Club. Presented by Andrew Kay, Australia’s premier rock and roll promoter, and Release Creative, the team behind last year’s hit Disco Wonderland and the Barossa Contemporary: Festival for the Curious, are bringing the house down again with this must-see gig. A simple premise – lets celebrate the greats of rock and roll with a rotating cast of Australian rock royalty. Featuring Sarah McLeod from The Superjesus, Kevin Mitchell of Jebediah fame, Carla Lippis, Dusty Lee Stephenson, Libby O’Donovan and a band that brings the house down – this is a concert for those who lived through the 70s, worshipped the 90s and celebrated the noughties. The icons of the ’27 Club’ – those that met their demise at the age of 27 by drink, drugs or jealous husbands– included blues influencer Robert Johnson, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Amy Winehouse and Jimi Hendrix. Add the exactness of The Moa as a venue, […]
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 […]