Community Theatre


Wedding scene Fiddler on the Roof. Photo Geoff Sirmai


A most impressive version of this much loved musical now regarded as a classic.

While FIDDLER ON THE ROOF is now over 50 years old and its story set in a Jewish community in pre-revolutionary Russia, the issues it raises of racism, displacement and refugees are still more than relevant today. Continue reading ROCKDALE MUSICAL SOCIETY’S FIDDLER ON THE ROOF


Theatregoers are welcome to attend the World Premiere of IO, MAMMETA ET TU, a play written by the youngest ever AWGIE winner, Andrea Dal Bosco, and presented by the Settlement Services International (SSI)- Future Ability Project.

With stories, song and dance, this drama production shares what it is to live a life less able. The contemporary interactive multi-media and live play experience enlightens audiences, helping Italo-Australians gain a clear understanding of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the support available and how lives can be changed.

Writer/Director Andrea Dal Bosco was born and raised in Sydney’s Little Italy, Leichhardt. Andrea is still the youngest ever recipient of an Australian Writers Guild Award (AWGIE), through his work creating award-winning film and television in Australia and around the world for the past 30 years. Andrea has written two best selling books on the immigrant experience based on his groundbreaking SBS series TALES FROM A SUITCASE, and is well versed in all things Italian. Continue reading IO, MAMMETA ET TU : LIVING WITH DISABILITY


Production photos: Dawn Pugh

VICKI is playing a short season at Lane Cove Theatre Company.  It’s a new work, a musical, home grown and it’s great fun as only community theatre can be.  As I left the hall tonight I was hearing people who had enjoyed themselves, chatting about the show and even beginning the conversation about some of the ideas that the production had thrown their way.  No wonder either, because that last song, a reprise, with the four cast members singing together is a ripper and a great way to finish the night.  Continue reading VICKI FROM LANE COVE THEATRE CO


FOUR FLAT WHITES IN ITALY is the first in Castle Hill Players’ 2018 series of productions. Written by the New Zealand playwright, Roger Hall, it is a comedy with some memorable one liners but it also looks at a deeper side of relationships. Being about two New Zealand couples if of course contains rugby and a few cutting remarks about Australia adding to the humour of the script. Continue reading FOUR FLAT WHITES IN ITALY: IN CASTLE HILL



Above: TRIBUNAL interrogates Australia’s refugee policy. Banner: The PYT Ensemble program

After a critically acclaimed program in 2017 which saw PYT | Fairfield win Western Sydney’s first Helpmann Award (Best Presentation for Children, PYT and Force Majeure, JUMP FIRST, ASK LATER) the company announce their 2018 Program.

Now considered one of the most exciting arts companies in the country, in 2018 their work will be presented in Carriageworks for Sydney Festival, Sydney Opera House, Museum of Contemporary Art and sites across Western Sydney including the local pool and a garden created by refugees to support the settlement of asylum seekers. Continue reading PYT/FAIRFIELD ANNOUNCE FOR 2018


With the silly season kicking in, Hunters Hill Theatre Company has made an astute choice for its final production of the year. The Company is currently running a revival of American playwright Ken Ludwig’s fast and frothy farce, MOON OVER BUFFALO (1995). Many will know this playwright for his better known work,  ‘Lend Me A Tenor’.

This Ludwig play is set back in 1953 and takes place, mainly, on stage and backstage at the Erlanger Theatre in Buffalo. The short story to the narrative is that the main characters, acting couple George and Charlotte Hay, run a travelling theatre company. The play starts with them touring  with two shows in rep, ‘Private Lives’ and ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ (a one nostril version).   Continue reading KEN LUDWIG’S ‘MOON OVER BUFFALO’ @ HUNTERS HILL TOWN HALL


Jes Vandrempt, Mark Inwood, Georgia Cooper All photographs by Prudence Upton

Type in ‘inspirational’.  Right click.  Pull down synonyms.  Stimulating Stirring Rousing Moving.  Well … that’s bullshit.  These artists exhibit no desire for that kind of spurious platitudinous response.  These are performers whose work has an urgency to be respected for their message, the artistry of their thematic expression and the craft with which it is created.

I have been to see CHRYSALIS.

It’s Midnight Feast Theatre Company and the cast combines the talents of professional actors with high support need individuals. And it’s a bloody revelation. Continue reading CHRYSALIS: MIDNIGHT FEAST THEATRE COMPANY


For a fun-filled night of silliness, cross-dressing and belly laughs you can’t go past Bankstown Theatre Company’s production of MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT.

The show’s original 2005 production was a Broadway hit, winner of three Tony Awards, including a Tony for Best Musical.

Billed as, ‘A new musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail,’ MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT is a sassy, irreverent parody of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

King Arthur has been given a quest (by God) to search for the Holy Grail, a quest that is fraught with hitches, treating the audience to a smorgasbord of classic Python sketches including: I’m not dead yet, the killer rabbit, the Black Knight and the Insulting Frenchman.

Fear not, Lords and Ladies! There is no need to be well-versed in the 1975 film to enjoy the almost two hours of singing, dancing, gags and outrageous situations. Continue reading MONTY PYTHON’S ‘SPAMALOT’ @ BANKSTOWN ARTS CENTRE


Like many, I love a good farce. The experience of farce is like no other – that mounting, building up of tension waiting for the time  when the culprit playboy or playgirl, let’s not be sexist, is finally found out.

The French came up  this form so it is perfectly understandable that they have also have come up with most of the best farces. Like Marc Camoletti’s BOEING BOEING, set in the swinging sixties in Paris.

This latest play being put on by the Rockdale Theatre Guild was well directed by Susan Stapleton. BOEING BOEING is a farce with the ever so frequent opening and closing of doors that requires split second timing and the cast never missed a beat. Continue reading BOEING BOEING : HIGH FLYING FARCE @ ROCKDALE THEATRE GUILD


Featured image – Warren Ekermans as Bill, Brian May as Tom, and Michael Curnick as Bert

During the rough and tumble of childhood, most of us can recall a responsible adult saying something along the lines of “It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.” Usually this ends in a scratch or two, or maybe a bruise. But in the Sutherland Theatre Company’s latest production, the consequences of an innocent rough and tumble between a married couple results in something a lot more serious – and hilarity ensues.

Tom and Annabel are a reasonably happy married couple. One evening they have an argument as to who loves the other most. A rough and tumble follows, and Tom discovers to his horror that Annabel is dead.

So starts a hectic evening of black farce which also involves Tom’s policeman friend and his literary agent. It seems no woman can enter the house without rapidly becoming deceased. Annabel’s mother and Tom’s appalling landlady follow and disposal of bodies becomes an acute problem. The arrival of a grim police inspector complicates matters until a further corpse involves him too. The hysterical ending finds the stage littered with female corpses, frantic males and a potential fifth victim banging on the door. Continue reading THE UNVARNISHED TRUTH : BLACK COMEDY AT ITS BEST


This is the stage adaptation, by Tim Firth, of the very popular movie of the same title, starring Helen Mirren.

Many will know the story, based on real life events, when a group  of women working in a small Women’s Institute group in Yorkshire, London, took their kit off to put together a calendar to raise funds for cancer research after one of the women in the group, Annie,  lost her husband John to cancer.

The Calendar was released and went ‘viral’. The women found their sudden fame hard to deal with, and friendships within the group become strained. All however does end up happy enough.

Firth’s adaptation is clever, racy, funny and at times touching, and Pymble Players have given it another life with a fresh, winning production in their intimate theatre,  a converted church space.

Julia Griffith’s direction is sharp and featured elegant staging. Her cast maintained their accents well. Ian Ackland’s  compact set  of a village church hall where the Women’s Institute meets. Other locations are well established by full length images projected on the back wall.

Melissa Abrahams soundscape, primarily featuring excerpts of popular songs worked well, as did Jan McLachlan’s period costumes.

Griffith’s enthusiastic cast were all good. Louise Deibe as Chris and Fran Etheridge as Annie were very effective in the main roles. Favourite performances in the supporting cast were by Bronwyn Courts  as the glamorous, good natured Celia, Maria Karambelas as the vivacious, feisty retired teacher.Jessie, and Racquel Boyd, who after initially being reluctant, does pitch in with her friends. 

Margaret Olive plays the social climbing Marie, Helen Hunter-Lee plays both local dignitary Lady Cavendish and a deceitful beauty consultant, Elaine, Royden Broad has a brief part playing Annie’s dying husband John before he shuffles off his mortal coil, Wills Burke is the shy photographer Lawrence who receives his best assignment ever, and Murray Fane plays two roles, those of Rod and Liam.

Make a date soon to meet up with these feisty, vivacious Calendar Girls. They are a lot of fun, and keep the audience well entertained. The show is playing at Pymble Players, on the corner of Bromley Avenue and Mona Vale Road, until 28th October.  Please check the website for performance times.





Production photos by Grant Leslie Photography

From the moment when Dolly Levi, played with joyous charm and wonderful exuberance by Michele Lansdown, walks onto the stage to the very last note the audience is enthralled by this classic feel good, romantic musical. HELLO, DOLLY! was first performed in 1964 with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder’s 1938 farce The Merchant of Yonkers.

The musical rides on the shoulders of Dolly, a feisty Jewish widow in 19th-century New York who has an amazing talent for romantic meddling. Dolly is a rare independent woman, and she’s aware of that rarity, with comments such as “Marriage is a bribe to make the housekeeper think she’s a householder”. Though tough is some respects she too is looking for a husband and has her sights set on Horace Vandergelder, a well-known half millionaire of Yonkers. Christopher Hamilton is excellent in the role of Horace with just the right mixture of haughtiness, dignity and finally capitulation to the wiles of Dolly. Continue reading MIRANDA MUSICAL SOCIETY PRESENTS ‘HELLO, DOLLY!’


Theatre foyers these days are too often the province of the middle aged and older.  How refreshing it was then to see such a young crowd mingling pre show.

We had all come to see 13 THE MUSICAL, book by Dan Elish and Robert Horn, music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown,  which premiered on Broadway back in 2009.

This was the return season of this show which was originally presented  by the Chatswood Musical Society.  This production was brought to us by the newly formed theatre Company, Brand New You, in association with The Annex Dance and Arts Centre.

The show follows Evan Goldman’s journey. Evan is 12 and coming up to that landmark day in his thirteenth year when he has his Bar Mitzvah – when a Jewish boy becomes a man and receives heaps of presents and cash from his family and friends. Continue reading 13 THE MUSICAL : THE BRIGHT AND DARK SIDES OF ADOLESENCE


In Maurice McLoughlin’s poignant play A LETTER FROM THE GENERAL, a revolution has taken place in the Far East in 1950 and the nuns who work at a mission for orphaned children are ordered to leave.

One of the nuns receives a letter from the General, who is the new Governor of the Province, which has a profound impact on the decision to stay or go.

Rev. Mother: Robyn Williams
Sister Henry: Linda Young
Sister Lucy: Courtney Gibson
Sister Bridget: Janet Shay
Sister Magdalen: Carole Grace
Ruth Stilton: Paula Searle
Arthur Stilton: Christopher Clark
Capt. Lee: Dan Ferris
Father Schiller: Michael Richmond

Director: Jennifer Willison. Lighting Design: Wayne Chee. Costume Design: Joanna Simpson & Rhonda Chapman

8th to  17th September 2017 at Hunters Hill Theatre, 22 Alexandra Street, Hunters Hill.

For more about A Letter from the General, visit
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This is the first time that this neglected rather early Rattigan play has been seen in Sydney. While it now perhaps seems rather dated and ‘of its time’ under Giles Gartrell-Mills’ excellent direction this play while at first, seemingly very artificial, superficial and slow to take off, develops and becomes quite intense and multi-layered.

Rattigan’s play, AFTER THE DANCE written in 1939, examines the life of the young people who survived World War One and lived life to the full in the hedonistic 1920s, only to find themselves now middle-aged, disillusioned and facing another World War .It is a study of a  lost generation. The script is brilliantly written and the play well plotted and structured. At times the play seems a bit like a brittle Coward comedy – the audience laughed heartily at certain points at the sparking , witty dialogue –  but there remains  an underlying passion and morality. Rattigan is able to let the audience see  the hidden sadness of these doomed fantasists. Continue reading TERRENCE RATTIGAN’S ‘AFTER THE DANCE’ @ THE NEW THEATRE NEWTOWN



AND THEN THERE WERE NONE by Agatha Christie has been brought successfully to the stage at The Art House. Christie’s complex and intriguing narrative is directed by Pollyanna Forshaw, the play is about a diverse group of 10 people who are all lured into coming to an island. All the members have committed an act that was not subject to legal sanction or they have escaped justice. The guests are “charged” for their respective crimes and are told  via a message conveyed through a gramophone speaker that they will have to pay for their actions. Nobody can escape from the island due to the distance from land and the turbulent weather.

Christie commented that adapting her novel to the stage was challenging and decided to change the ending slightly in 1943 as she felt it might be too bleak for wartime audiences. Suspense plays an important role in making this play so intriguing and 10 miniature Indian figurines are a clear representation of it. Every time someone dies, one figurine out of the original 10 disappears off the mantlepiece. This creates an atmosphere of suspense for both the audience and the interaction between the characters in the story. Continue reading AND THEN THERE WERE NONE : WYONG DRAMA GROUP PRESENTS AN AGATHIE CHRISTIE CLASSIC


Deborah Brevoort’s  play is based on the terrorist attack on December 21 1988 in which Pan Am Flight 103 exploded in mid-air, due to a time activated bomb in a suitcase, as it travelled from London to New York City. The explosion scattered pieces of the plane over Lockerbie, Scotland, and the surrounding hills, Scotland, as well as the remains of the 243 passengers and 16 crew members. Twenty-one houses on the ground were destroyed, and 11 people there lost their lives. An international conflict arose in the aftermath and eventually the Libyan leader Qaddafi extradited two suspects in 1998, one sentenced to 27 years and the other acquitted.

THE WOMEN OF LOCKERBIE is a poetic drama, in the form of a Greek tragedy, takes place on a hillside near Lockerbie seven year after the attack as a woman roams searching for the remains of her son. It is a moving and intimate portrayal of the effects of grief. As one of the women say, grief is a guest who remains too long, and the characters must come to terms with loss and decide whether the desire for justice and hate should rule their lives or whether they can somehow turn these feelings around to a more compassionate approach.

Madelaine Livingston, played by Kim Schad, is a New Jersey housewife who lost her son but whose body was never found. Grief has been all consuming in her life as she cannot find closure and it is destroying her marriage to Bill Livingston, played by Stephen Snars. These people portray their loss in very different ways but cannot connect and support each other.

They meet Olive Allison, played by Michelle Masefield, a woman of Lockerbie with her own tragic story. Ollie and two women, played by Rebecca Fletcher and Anne Geenen, form the “chorus” and offer a special kind of grief counselling, telling their own tragic stories about that awful day when the plane crashed quite literally on their houses.

Directed by Bernard Teuben this is a dark and emotional journey set with very subdued lighting and traditional Scottish music. A touch of humour to lighten the atmosphere is found in the character of Hattie, played by Penny Johnson, who is a cleaning lady working for George Jones.

George Jones, played by Larry Murphy, is a US Government official whose job it is to burn the clothes of the victims found in the plane’s wreckage. The women, determined to convert an act of hatred into an act of love, want to wash the clothes of the dead and return them to the victim’s families in a symbolic act of cleansing.

This is a sentimental and touching production and very much resonates today when acts of terrorism proliferate. The play asks how do we respond?

THE WOMEN OF LOCKERBIE is playing till the 12th August. Performance times are Wednesday’s, Friday’s and Saturday’s at 8.15pm and Sundays at 4.30pm at the Pavilion Theatre. Castle Hill.




The Genesian Theatre Company, responding to the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, is currently presenting a production of Austen’s classic novel EMMA with the stage adaptation by its very own Pamela Whalan.

EMMA tells the story of the mischievous Emma Woodhouse, a spirited, independent young woman who has no plans to marry. She does, however, spend a lot of her time matchmaking others! In the end, she herself falls into the most tender of traps.

I went on opening night and the full house embraced the performance. No doubt, there were many Jane Austen devotees amongst them.

We entered the theatre to be treated to another finely detailed period set – the time the early nineteenth century- by Owen Gimblett. Over his time with the Company Gimblett has put together over 25 mainstage sets. Continue reading JANE AUSTEN’S ‘EMMA’ @ THE GENESIAN THEATRE


There is never a bad time for a good murder spoof and Hunters Hill Theatre’s production of Jack Sharkey’s THE MURDER ROOM went down a treat.

Sharkey’s plot is very much more on the ridiculous than the sublime side..The play is set inside a country estate, Bynewood Cottage, Harrogate in the countryside of England in earlyn June 1969. Husband Edgar Hollister is suspicious that his newly married second wife is having an affair, which she of-course is. He confronts her about it, she is aggrieved, gets her hands on a gun, shoots him dead or does she?! and carts him out of the way.

Before long the stage is filled with an assortment of characters who come to the Hollister’s house and are vetted by their very efficient maid, Lottie. Edgar’s long lost daughter Susan arrives with her boyfriend, Barry. Then of-course the constabulary arrive in the form of Inspector James Crandell and Constable Howard who attempt to sort out the puzzle of Edgar’ disappearance. Continue reading THE MURDER ROOM : HUNTERS HILL THEATRE PUTS ON A CLASSIC MURDER SPOOF



This is sharply observed dark comedy about people maintaining their false façades. It is a a stunning script by Jon Robin Baitz containing an unexpected outcome.

The whole family is visiting at the wealthy Wyeth’s family home, located in Palm Springs California on Christmas Eve 2004. Daughter Brooke has just written a politically and emotionally dangerous memoir about her life, her parents and the tragic loss of her older brother.  Her memoir sends shockwaves through the family.

Polly and Lyman Wyeth are old-guard Republicans, highly regarded in old Hollywood circles. Recently released from rehab, Polly’s sister Silda, is also living with them, and is a politically active Democrat. Continue reading JON ROBIN BAITZ’ ‘OTHER DESERT CITIES’@ ARTS THEATRE CRONULLA


Frank Butler (Clive Hobson) is a tall dashing and suave sharpshooter working in Buffalo Bill’s wild-west show. Annie Oakley (Suzanne Chin) is a backwoods woman, and this feisty country tomboy, is an incredible talent as a markswoman, who immediately falls completely head over heels in love for Frank. Continue reading ANNIE GET YOUR GUN : GALACTIC SPACE ALIENS INSTEAD OF REDSKINS


There’s a “stage full of stiffs” in the Hills…

In the first few minutes of BUGSY MALONE vast numbers of bad guys are done in by vicious cream pie attacks and random bystanders are felled by crazy string machine guns. Little Chicago circa 1920s is littered with speakeasy staff and speak quickly mob bosses. By the time we get to Fat Sam’s Grand Slam and the body count is piling up, we are so glad that there are over 50 young people in the cast … we just don’t want the fun to end through lack of upright citizens.

Because, from the top of the show, Hills Musical Theatre Company’s BUGSY MALONE, performed exclusively by kids (from 10-16 years) is joyous, thrilling, incomparable community theatre. It’s a treat for all ages and a testament to what young people can do if we prepare them, support them and let ’em loose!

There’s a mob war happening, you see. Fat Sam is being out-armed by Dandy Dan who has managed to find a supplier for a secret weapon. Splurge guns! No longer are the streets slick with the failed hurlings of mano-on-mano flans, this new invention targets victims directly where it hurts. Fat Sam needs to get those guns and he has the green stuff to hire the best driver in the business, our narrator and all round good guy, Bugsy Malone.

In 1974, to keep his four kids entertained on long car trips English Filmmaker Alan Parker (who would direct a huge variety of films from FAME to MIDNIGHT EXPRESS) made up a story about a Chicago gangster from snippets of memory of films and books he had encountered. His eldest son, Alex, insisted that the story had to be about kids. When Parker decided to make a film of his amusing tale he enlisted Paul Williams to write the music and went on a talent search for young people. Jodie Foster and Scott Baio were just two names in the film and when it became a musical in 1983, Micky Dolenz from The Monkeys directed a young Catherine Zeta-Jones to wide acclaim.

Now for a new list of names. Any one of these kids could be the next generation of Australian musical theatre stars. They are remarkably talented and focused in a family friendly show with Hills MTC’s traditionally high production values.

Let’s have a quick chat about that first. Peek at the early promo images for the show and you will see kids in school musical costumes. Dangling sleeves, Dad’s cut down suit. Go and see the show now and you will see superbly envisioned costumes (Rebecca Demary- co-ordinator).

Every child’s costume fits them, so do their hats and shoes and ties and furs and fans and pom pom fringes. Each change, and there are many, gives the young artist a character to bring on with them. The showgirls look glorious in their beaded and sequined and fringed gold flapper dresses and then they come out in the second act in equally lush silver costumes. Just brilliant! Continue reading HILLS MUSICAL THEATRE COMPANY PUT ON A CRACKER PRODUCTION OF ‘BUGSY MALONE’


The audience thoroughly enjoyed itself on opening night with gales of laughter filling the Pavilion Theatre. Only the British do bedroom farce with that certain touch and this script is a wonderful example of the art of adding confusion to confusion in a seemingly logical way. Will it be possible to untie all the knots by the end of the play or will more be tied?

The play opens in the honeymoon suite of a hotel where the bridegroom wakes on his wedding morning, with his fiancée about to arrive any moment, and finds an unknown, very attractive girl in bed beside him. His best man arrives, his fiancée arrives, the girl is hidden in the bathroom pretending to be the best man’s girlfriend, the best man’s real girlfriend has to be kept ignorant of the fact and the chambermaid is coerced into being everyone’s girlfriend. By interval when the bride’s mother arrives chaos has ensued which only escalates in Act Two.

Daniel Vavasour plays Bill, the panicked groom, who has some doubt as to wherever Rachel, his fiancée, is really the perfect partner.                          Continue reading PERFECT WEDDING : FAST PACED BEDROOM FARCE COMES TO CASTLE HILL