Since 472 BC when Aeschylus created dialogue by adding ‘the antagonist’ to what had only been chorus and ‘the protagonist’, theatrical representations of human impulses have most often been expressed as discussion.

MEMBER has only one man on stage. He is protagonist and antagonist, speaker and listener, inner thought and outward expression. There is, however, further discussion taking place behind him in the shadows of the tiny black stage, where a clamour of voices has contributed to this extraordinary work. Artists, common people and the recounting of those involved are all alive in the yellowing spotlights.

And in the tinny bip of heart rate monitor which assaults in the darkness to open the show. Continue reading FAIRLY LUCID THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS ‘MEMBER’ @ BLOOD MOON THEATRE




Festival Director Wayne Tunks has selected superb theatre pieces, from the best of the best scripts on offer. Recommended, with amazing and well chosen plays on the stage, for you to pick and vote for your two preferred plays. Short + Sweet is my favourite time of year, with twelve brand new short plays this week. Interesting message pieces, and emotionally moving themes with drama, satire, comedy. time travel, time police, office politics, revenge murder, dementia, George Brandis, afterlife, anniversaries versus aliens, and a resonating vodka experience.

Week Seven Plays: February 22-26 (Wed – Sun @ 7.30pm)

(1) – The Lifecycle of Refrigerators

Written by Nataliya Oryshchuk / Directed by Adam Grubner

Cast: Graham Egan, Luke Evans, Rizcel Gagawanan, David Luke and Sonja Ridden

The Lifecycle of Refridgerators
The Lifecycle of Refridgerators

Over-the-top administration team meeting, dealing with the loneliness of refrigerators provided comedy moments, and included ironic team discussions about community gardens growing food for the homeless, stress relief by using adult colouring books, and befriending dangerous strangers, i.e. the homeless.

(2) – Ten Minutes on a Train Platform

ITC Presented by Mariposa Productions

Written by Felix Carlyle / Directed by Margaret Fitzgerald

Ten Minutes on a Train platform
Ten Minutes on a Train platform

Christine Aldridge (Fiona) begins to fear for her life, as ADHD hyper-talkative Isaac Owen (Gerald) menacingly steals her iPhone, with more twists to follow. Perfect cast with beautifully written drama, concerns female personal safety issues not being provided late at night, by video security surveillance. Intense drama between two strangers, unfolds on the platform at Lines End Railway Station.

(3) – Island Journey

ITC Presented by Rainbow Connections Theatre Co.

Written and Directed by Uma Kali Shakti

Cast: Veena Sudarshan

Island Journey
Island Journey

Cultural expectations with inherent limitations, preventing life-affirming growth. Intensive one woman monologue, on the path to closure, takes a trajectory through grief and loss, against the background of a fixed belief system.

(4) – A Bottle of Vodka

Written by Connie Schinewolf

A bottle of Vodka
A bottle of Vodka

Alcoholics, Liz Hovey (Judy) and Mark Fowler (Will) are two very-drunk drivers who just arrived in hell, because their cars have just crashed by colliding head-on, on Parramatta Road. Comedy one-liners, generated laughter galore. Perfect cast, delicious dialogue to make you “laugh out loud”, and expertly directed Larry Kelly. An unopened bottle of Grey Goose Vodka tempts both, but painful force-field barrier prevents access. Alcohol withdrawal creates dialogue, as these strangers by spending some time together, discover their similarities, leading to a hellish conclusion.

(5) – The Search

Written by Michael Panes / Directed by Isabel Dickson

The Search
The Search

One year marriage anniversary, of course her scientist husband, Adnan Zey (Gerry) has forgotten, thus making her even more unhappy with her alien finding husband. As a devout catholic Emily Potts (Sandra), can not divorce him. So much comedy, so little time. Alien analogue broadcast transmissions received from 6EQJ5 by SETI, create the comedy path to ruin and divorce.

(6) – Mary Twist

Written and Directed by Mikayla Hatjinikitas

Cast: Izzy Hanly, Damian Asher, Mark Herrison, Indiana Rubin-Tasic, Paris Galanos and Russell Kay

Mary Twist
Mary Twist

Fresh clever comedy and suffragette message piece, created by sixteen year old playwright Mikayla Hatjinikitas. Time Travel from the Victorian Era, to the far more welcoming world of 2016. YOLO and SWAG confirm the destination year. Inventor’s daughter uses her father’s Time Travel Machine, to escape from the tyranny of being only permitted to cook, to clean and to constantly birth babies every nine months.

(7) – At Home With Larry & George

Written by Gavin Roach / Directed by Amber Wilcox

At home with Larry and George
At home with Larry and George

Edgy adult themes, throughout this stunningly extreme lifestyle comedy. So is this Art or Design? Graphic Adult B&D fetish comedy. Reilly Johnson (Larry the Gimp) is the submissive male, living in a dog-house, with Garreth Cruikshank (George) his master, who is forever on the “endless quest for excellence”. As the politician in charge of choosing recipients of Arts Council grants, to create his “Center of Excellence”, this politician is going to personally use all the money intended for the arts community.

(8) – The Accident

ITC Presented by Marko Mustac Productions

Written By Marko Mustac / Directed by Jenny Hope

Cast: Marko Mustac and Lou Pollard

The Accident
The Accident

The strong coarse language content of this play, is completely inappropriate for all children. There are so many Bad and Disrespectful witty one-liners, however my favourite line is when the husband says to his wife “I don’t hate women you c*nt”. Offensive Explicit Language is used creatively and effectively, to metamorphosize this dialogue intensive drama, into a black ironic comedy masterpiece. Dysfunctional couple in a long-term relationship are both cheating on their marriage partner, however their love for each other is a brightly burning fire, that burns down everything that it sees, and are a car crash away from dying. Perfectly cast couple, have so many memorable twisted lines of biting dialogue, this elegantly constructed play delivers outstanding artistry.

(9) – Time Squad

ITC Presented by Black Box Theatre Co.

Written by Alexander Cuff

Cast: Bradley Ward, Alex Groombridge, Sam Sweeting and Sam Lovell

Time Squad
Time Squad

Riotous fun as two Time Travelling Police Agents, constantly provide comedy “time one-liners” as they meet and greet with their criminal future versions of themselves. Will these four Time Travelling Police Agents, solve the Predestination Paradox to stop time unravelling? Luke Berman has expertly directed, nine minutes of never ending audience laughter, arriving from an eager and ultra appreciative audience, that clearly placed this comedy, well ahead of the pack for audiences voting for comedies.

(10) – Wheelchair

Written by Scott Mullen / Directed by Diane Busuttil

Cast: Paul Kohn and Latisha Owens


Strangers in a park. Disabled woman in a wheelchair, meets man in park, and they begin making insane bets about the future behaviour of other people in the park. Interesting comedy becomes very dark drama, with unexpected conclusion, expertly delivered.

(11) – Not Toilet Trained

ITC Presented by Seat of the Pants Productions

Written and Directed by Ruth Fringret

Not Toilet Trained
Not Toilet Trained

Superb cast choices selected by director Ruth Fringret. Delicious dementia comedy, quickly builds effective back stories into each character, via music lyrics used as dialogue. The undeserving absent son Greg, returns home to visit his quite elderly parents. Sandra Campbell (Mum) urgently needs help managing her husband, Valentino Arico (Dad) however their ungrateful son Lewis Scamozzi (Greg) and is not accepting of any of the challenges, of the dementia related life lessons, now unfolding.

(12) – Mexican Stand Off

Written by Sally Bartley / Directed by Spike Hogan

Cast: Tristan Clarke, Isabel Dickson, Peter Maple and Jaime Ureta

Mexican Stand Off
Mexican Stand Off

“Democracy when solely determined by a slim majority, is usually nothing more than mob rule, where 51% of the people have voted to steal away all of the rights of the other 49%”. Message piece, dialogue driven comedy with drama at a Wanderers soccer match. Class warfare from the have-nots (Chas and Gaz) against the haves (Gerry and Marlin). The paradigm, that rules must be broken, that deviant behaviour is expected, and that mob rule involving both violence and intimidation, is always the behaviour expected at soccer.

Week Seven Plays: February 22-26 (Wed – Sun @ 7.30pm)


All photos by Robert Miniter.

SHORT AND SWEET THEATRE 2017 Top80 Week SEVEN, runs from Wednesday 15th February 2017 to Sunday 19th February 2017.

The Depot Theatre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville, with on-site free car parking.

Website:   :
Facebook:   https: //
Twitter:   @ShortSweetFest
Instagram:   @shortsweetfest



‘’Vincent River is dead, the victim of a homophobic hate crime’

With that nugget of information we head into the theatre. The outcome of this headline story is not buried at the back of the paper, but put right out there at the start so we already know the ending. So what now is there to see? As it turns out, a lot. A gruesome, funny, tragic lot.

This Philip Ridley play first appeared in 2000 and was described by Variety at the time as being ‘a minor addition to Britain’s new brutalist genre’ and likely to cause audiences to stifle yawns. That production must have been  pretty awful, or more likely the reviewer was having an off night, as this current incarnation under the direction of Andrew Langcake  is another story. Put it this way, no one in the audience was yawning.

Vincent’s mother Anita (Susan M Kennedy) and young stranger Davey (Russell Cronin) circle around each other with caution at first after the death of Vincent, but as more gin is swilled, confidences grow riskier and more bold. Davey is initially only a casual witness to the end of Vincent’s life but he is obviously tormented and Anita naturally wants to know why.

Susan M Kennedy as Anita is world-weary but she is curious enough (and still maternal enough) to let her defenses down and let a strange young man in. Kennedy executes the humour in an authentic and off-hand manner that catches you off guard. Russell Cronin as Davey is incredible. His revelations throughout the play are not particularly surprising, in the final scene, however,  he delivers with such gut-wrenching emotion that you can’t look away during his hypnotic confession. The very estuary British accents are fantastic, Nick Curnow acted as dialect consultant and the result is impressive.   

Between Langcakes’s direction and Kennedy and Cronin’s performances, Vincent River packs an emotionally laden sucker punch that will leave you reeling. The structure and pace of this production are close to perfection: to call this an amateur production would be misleading, I have seen much so-called professional theatre that hasn’t come close to the production value that Vincent River offers.        

Vincent River is presented by Throwing Shade Theatre Company and is on at the Factory Theatre (Marrickville) until 5 March, for more details and tickets see:





Sometimes it’s so nice to just sit in an intimate theatre to feel a show rather than just watch and hear. BIG CROW is certainly intimate. You are close to the cast, almost stepping over a dying boy as you enter. And it’s a narrow story with characters who are in a situation of their own devising.

Tommy and Albie accepted a spur of the minute trip from London to Australia. A big move for the 1930’s but any promise of the good life has been sucked out of the boys by Roy, a farmer who talked them into working for him in the middle of nowhere and has treated them very badly. They decide on revenge and attack Roy bent on killing him. Roy appears not to have treated anyone of his acquaintance well. His wife and daughter happen upon the scene and are content to watch rather than intervene. Continue reading MARK LANGHAM’S ‘BIG CROW’ @ ACTORS PULSE THEATRE REDFERN



“Some love too little, some too long/Some sell, and others buy/Some do the deed with many tears/And some without a sigh/ For each man kills the thing he loves/Yet each man does not die.” – Oscar Wilde: The Ballad of Reading Gaol.

Sensitively directed by Iain Sinclair this production by Red Line Productions of David Hare’s play THE JUDAS KISS would have to be one of the best shows on in town at the moment.

This compelling production is part of the Mardi Gras Festival and looks at the tragic fall of the great author Oscar Wilde.

The play was written in 1998 and Neil Armfield directed a landmark version at Belvoir in 1999 and more recently an overseas production starring Rupert Everett as Wilde.

Hare is regarded as one of the great contemporary British playwrights writers and it is a huge pleasure to hear his magnificent use of language and observe the confident, secure construction of his  play.

In the tiny intimate theatre it is as if we are a fly on the wall observing events. Act 1 is set on the 5th of April, 1895, in a room of the Cadogan Hotel in London, the night on which Wilde must decide whether to stay in England, and face imprisonment, or flee.

The Cadogan Hotel, set is plush red velvet curtains, lamps, chairs and tables and crowded with paintings (pick out the Whistlers and St. Sebastian).

After interval, Act 2 is set two years later, on the 3rd December, 1897, after Wilde’s release from prison, in the Villa Guidice at Posillipo, near Naples. This set is minimalist featuring a white backdrop , a chair and a white slab on which Galileo reclines as we enter.

The production features terrific period costumes, designed by Antoinette Barbouttis . Continue reading DAVID HARE’S ‘JUDAS KISS’ @ THE OLD FITZ


More laughs than you can poke a shtick at…more colours than you can put in a rainbow…more clowning than you will see at a circus…yes, it was all happening folks last night when Kosher Theatresports 2017, with the umbrella title Surfin’ Safari On The Chai Seas,played to a near capacity house, including a few Rabbis, at the Bondi Pav.

Five teams with hip names competed for the trophy, cleverly named the Kiddush Cup,each bearing a quirky name – SURFIN’ SEPHARDI – Jon Williams, Dave Bloustien and Joel Goodman, NIPPERS MIT KIPPERS – Dave Callan, Mack Callan and Liz Hovey, SLIP SLOP SHLEP – Adaya Turkia, Dave Borowski and Oliver Burton, THE BEACH GOYS – John Knowles, Matthew Friedman, Philip Feinstein and Scott Brown, JUDAH MACCABEACH – Michael Gregory, Jordan Gregory, Liora Baram and Paul Baram.

Three judges, each well versed in all things theatrical, Lyn Pierse, known as the Godmother of Australian Theatresports, cabaret artist and performer Joanne Weinberg and actor and director Tanya Goldberg, held up their scorecards- marking the performances from one to five with five being funtastic,

Overseeing all the frivolity was the zany emcee Ewan Campbell and an ebullient Geoff Sirmai was the all important timekeeper.

The skits ran fast,furious and funny and before you could say ‘Find Your Ending’, the show’s had indeed come to a close. The winner of the coveted Kiddush trophy were Surfin’ Sephardi, decided after a hilarious tiebreak.

In the other award categories,David Callan won Best and Fairest, Adaya Turkia was Rookie Of The Year, and Moment of the Match was won by the Judah Maccabeach group’s skit ‘Death and Resurrection by Meds’.

Actually, on the night, everybody was a star, from the zany performers, to keyboardist Benny Davis’ wonderful musical accompaniment, to Daniel and Clem running back and forth across the stage throwing missile lollies and chocolates into the audience, and to the lighting man working hard up the back, Daniel O’Shea.

Kosher Theatresports, you were absent too long – some three years- make sure that you come back again next year.

All photos by Ben Apfelbaum (c).


When the lights come up on The Testament of Mary the audience is confronted with a traditional Catholic scene, Mary surrounded by candles with lamb in arms. The steps leading to this very iconic image resemble an altar , which is stunning in an understated style, yet the foreground of the stage is roped off with velvet cord draping languidly between the bollards: it is the church as a museum piece, a quaint antiquity. Then the edifice crumbles as Mary swiftly jettisons the props that have become a part of her legacy, a legacy which playwright Colm Tóibín revises from the safe distance of the ‘collapsed’ Catholic. Continue reading THE TESTAMENT OF MARY @ WHARF 1 SYDNEY THEATRE COMPANY


I am a romantic at heart. It was the case that I was always going to go and see this new production. It was made even more appealing  when it was announced that the play would open on Valentine’s Day,

This was a play, appropriately, with a big heart. American playwright Bathsheba Doran has a lot of love for her four characters, their foibles, confusions, adventures.

First we meet Charlotte and Jonny. They have been best friends since they were nine, and now are in their early twenties. Charlotte is white and Jewish, Jonny is black and Baptist.

The playwright, interestingly, catches their friendship on the cusp of change. After so many years it now has to find a different form for it to survive. Continue reading THE MYSTERY OF LOVE AND SEX @ THE ETERNITY PLAYHOUSE DARLINGHURST


Nothing is as it seems in THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY. From the obscuring haze of thick smoke as we enter the theatre to the delicately constructed dance of death that concludes the work, people and events are viewed through a glass darkly. A mirror, a lens, a dirty window pane perhaps. There is an obstinate obfuscation in Lachlan Philpott’s text and Director Kate Gaul has successfully pulled the story from the page without exposing it to the full light. Like the magnesium flashpowder of the antique photographer’s T which will give light to a sepia photograph, there are puffs of understanding dispersed in a stillness of wondering.

THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY is a highly theatrical interpretation of a true story. Harry Crawford was arrested in July 1920 for the October 1917 murder of his wife, Annie. Her charred remains had been found near the Lane Cove River at Chatswood where she and Harry had been picnicking. When taken to the police station, Harry asked to be taken to the female cells and it was revealed that he was in fact Eugenia Falleni, assigned female at birth. Harry had been living as cisgender man since he had run away to sea as a very young person.

The image on Siren CT’s poster is from the Historic Houses Trust held mugshot and there have been exhibitions and articles, books and podcasts about the case in our own time. But it is the morbid curiosity, malice and prurient interest of the public at the time of Harry’s trial that allows us so many records about the case. Continue reading THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY : A MARVELLOUSLY COHESIVE PRODUCTION BY SIREN THEATRE COMPANY


American playwright Lillian Hellman’s THE LITTLE FOXES is set in the early 20th Century in the deep south of America. Rapid industrialisation is sweeping the country.

The little foxes of the title are the members of the Hubbard family. They are offered a business deal of a lifetime, rapid industrialisation is taking place and the family has the opportunity to ‘industrialise’ their large cotton plantation and reap the profits. The family need to fund the deal and do so by both legal and illegal means. Bitter in-fighting takes place as the pressure builds and the family begins to implode.

It is a cold, difficult world that Hellman depicts. Interestingly, Hellman had the idea for the play from observing the tough business practices that took place within her own family! Continue reading LILLIAN HELLMAN’S ‘THE LITTLE FOXES’ @ THE GUILD THEATRE ROCKDALE


Mark Langham’s new play BIG CROW flies into the intimate Actors Pulse Theatre next Tuesday night for a short season.

Langham’s play, loosely based on a true story, is set in the early 1930’s and sees two young Londoners ground down by poverty, Tommy and Albie, being offered a spur of the moment trip to Australia.

No sooner had they landed that they are taken to work as virtual slaves on a huge station, completely at the mercy of the station owner Roy, a man who’s life has been a stream of disappointments.

Tommy is a weasel; swift, cunning and potentially fatal. Albie could crush you with his kindness, but only if Tommy told him to… and their desperation has led them to a decision – they’re going to kill Roy. Roy’s wife and daughter disturb the murder but are far more interested in watching than saving him. The murder is put on hold and a dialogue begins. Continue reading MARK LANGHAM’S ‘BIG CROW’ @ ACTOR’S PULSE THEATRE, REDFERN


Live theatre is the best medicine, and Short + Sweet is my favourite time of year, with eight brand new plays this week, interesting and moving and resonating. Well chosen selection of emotional and thought provoking themes with chess, drama, satire, comedy and dance. Quite impossible to pick just the one winner.

(1) – Broadband Blues

Written and Directed by Geoff McCubbin

Cast: David Humphrey, Fran Bosly-Craft, Mark Smith, Anton Baggerman

Broadband Blues
Broadband Blues

Each NBN company provides rhyming verse constant comedy delight, as both Wilma and Fred try to get each NBN company to actually provide a human being to answer the telephone. You would have to be absolutely crazy to sign up with the NBN. Of course there is no support, and there never is any offer of competitive pricing, because every company that is not Telstra, offer the exact same price, for the exact same deal.

(2) – Compos Mentis

Written by Marilyn Millstone / Directed by Patrick Matijevic

Cast: Aileen Beale, Graham Egan and Denise Kitching

Compos Mentis
Compos Mentis

We visit Silver Glades Senior Living, nine minutes of excellent comedy ensues, full of guile, as both Robert and Alese deliberately fail the induction interview.

(3) – The Last

Written by Bokkie Robertson / Directed by Chantelle Corbet

Cast: Alex Hatz and Milica Pajic

The Last
The Last

Nuclear winter following nuclear war, drama as there is now only one human being still alive on Planet Earth, and he enters into a lively conversation and emotional reflection, with the soon to be unemployed “Grim Reaper”.

(4) – Out of the Woods

ITC Presented by Everyday Monster

Starring / Written / Directed by Brenton Amies and Cam Ralph

Out of the Woods
Out of the Woods

Incredible dark comedy, of two former Children’s Television Hosts who were “Hooly Dooly”, now meet to resolve their past issues. However one actor has unresolved anger management issues, and is still costumed and still speaking as “The Fluffy Bear” and many other bizarre issues urgently need to be addressed.

(5) – Freestyle Pawn Stars

ITC Presented by e4 Productions

Written by Keegan Fisher, Jake Izzy, Julz Larson and Ziggy Tockuss / Directed by Dudley Levell

Cast: Keegan Fisher, Jake Izzy, Julz Larson, Ziggy Tockuss and Mark Longhurst

Freestyle Pawn Stars
Freestyle Pawn Stars

Audience participation, the play was an impressive chess game with completely improvised and clever hip hop rap infused dialogue. Every night the brave cast risks all, by randomly trying to find someone from the audience who admits to playing the game of chess. Opening Night volunteer Karl was given black, and chose each of his moves quite badly, to quickly find himself on the losing side in a very fast checkmate, via witty rhythm, rhyme, riffs and freestyle rap. Heaps of applause, a fresh delight that was interesting and precocious, and resonated with the audience.

(6) – My Name is Lucinda

ITC Presented by Backstage Pass

Written and Directed by Lisa Kelaher

My Name is Lucinda
My Name is Lucinda

Margareta Moir stars as Catherine, telling a perfectly structured, short story monologue all about her life. As a child the simplicity of Catherine the introvert, enjoying all those John Wayne westerns of daytime television, and she decides her life is so much better as the driven “Wild West” extrovert Lucinda. Delivered everything a play should be, Margareta Moir did a beautiful job of providing the wonderful duality of the role, in a superb and winning performance on Opening Night.

(7) – Killjoy

ITC Presented by Imprint Theatre Company (Company Devised Script)

Cast: Wendi Lanham, Laurence Nelmes, Martin Quinn, Rebecca Waters, Kate Vozella and Annie Thorold


Three couples suffering in style through their pain, and these six actors give their all on the boards, with no safety net to save them, and strongly deliver a talented volatile fight for their vision, with stage art versus stage business. Music, physicality, silence, mime, dialogue, with choreographed dance and movement, the cast provide extraordinary power and strength in their performance. As with all theatre art, because we all have non-identical life experiences, what you see is always subject to differing interpretations, hence the exact same play, could also be experienced as just two people with relationship pain, represented by all six actors.

(8) – Ice Cream Mafia

Written by Vee Malnar / Directed by Thomas Richards

Cast: Jay Duncan, Erick Guanlao, Jasper Musgrave and Meili Bookluck

Ice Cream Mafia
Ice Cream Mafia

Comedy erupts when the local mafia, decide to take over a sensational ice-cream brand, that has been destroying their ice-cream business.

Week Six Plays: February 15-19 (Wed – Sun @ 7.30pm)

All photos by Robert Miniter.

SHORT AND SWEET THEATRE 2017 Top80 Week SIX, runs from Wednesday 15th February 2017 to Sunday 19th February 2017.

The Depot Theatre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville, with on-site free car parking.

Website:   :
Facebook:   https: //
Twitter:   @ShortSweetFest
Instagram:   @shortsweetfest






Most Sydney theatres have something running to support the LGBTQI community during Mardi Gras.  Gone are the days when it was about grasping for the pink or lavender dollar, the offerings these days are genuine attempts to tell stories which put the gay and lesbian community on stage with dignity and acceptance.  MAKING LOVE does that in spades.  The story may have a heterosexual story as the plot driver but love is the theme.  Whoever you love.  

It’s the future.  One can buy abiding love if you are as rich and successful as Sara is.  Sara is nervous.  She has purchased or designed or created or customised (euphemisms abound and there is an evident nomenclature war for acceptance) a synthetic companion D’Arcy.  D’Arcy is being delivered with the support of a PAXCORP representative, Mitchell and his synthetic partner Hercules.  It’s all a bit comfy until Jackson, an old flame, unexpectedly bursts in and skews the dynamic.  There is also a truth game invented by Hercules which threatens the harmony. Continue reading JESS SCOTT DRIKSNA’S ‘MAKING LOVE’ : A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE?!



The world that Australian playwright Ross Mueller portrays in his new play A STRATEGIC PLAN, directed by Chris Mead, comes as little  surprise. It is, in fact, depressingly familiar.

We see management writing on endless whiteboard and going off on their own merry tangents and caring very little about what their staff think or feel. Mueller’s scenario sees a man hired for a big project, and then fired before he can actually bring it to fruition. The case ends up in court.

What makes this play even bleaker is the particular project that gets pulled was arts related. The said Company’s strategic plan was to give young, disadvantaged people a greater opportunity to make it in the music business.

So, there was not much to smile about with this show, it’s too close to nerve. Mueller tries to swing his play into an upbeat ending, but I wasn’t all that convinced.

I do recommend going to see the show for two main reasons. One, Mueller writes great dialogue, and there are plenty of witty, cutting lines to enjoy. Two, the performances. They are uniformly appealing.

Matt Day plays the erratic, manipulative suit Simon, Briallen Clarke is his co-operative HR lady, Justin Smith plays Andrew, the admin muso who wanted to make a difference, and Emele Ugavule is a young staffer who gets inspired by Andrew and sets out on her own path.

Ross Mueller’s A STRATEGIC PLAN is playing the SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross until March 11.





If you are a lover of rapid fire witticisms, frequent bon mots or bitchily wry observations you are in for a treat. There is luscious dialogue rich with contrapuntal adjectives in a very funny script. This New Theatre’s production is well realised with a nice balance of meaningless fluff and fluffy meaningfulness. Not too heavy, not too light, just all round enjoyable.

Mitchell is an up and coming movie star. Diane is his vociferous agent and wannabe producer. Alex is a men’s escort. Ellen is Alex’s love interest. In the beginning anyway.

Mitchell, who is seriously pissed in a hotel room, hires Alex. Things do not go well initially but in the morning there is the distinct whiff of a disastrous amour fou. Diane will need to balance bedings with the bravura public performances keeping Mitchell’s sexual orientation firmly cupboard-locked. She gets it: she’s a fixer … and a lesbian …so rely on her to get things done. Ellen is a party girl and knows what it means to be dumped, still this is a new one even for her. Continue reading THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED : WIT AND LAUGHTER @ THE NEW


Short + Sweet is my favourite time of year, and this new week offers another quite entertaining evening of live theatre. Festival director Wayne Tunks has chosen ten plays for this week, a fine selection of both comedy and drama. It is quite impossible to pick just the one winner, and this week also includes the unique experience of seven wonderful drama delights.

(1) – Objectum Sexuality

Objectum Sexuality
Objectum Sexuality

Written by Ron Burch / Directed by Kathryn Thomas

Cast: Bryce Lavery-Jacko and Wayne Buckley

Couples Therapy comedy, because Mike is deeply in love with Rocky (a wooden rocking chair), but Mike has cheated.

(2) – Det-end-tion


ITC Presented By Moontan Productions

Written by Amelia Gilday and Alex Fenner / Directed by Amelia Gilday

Cast: Riley Marnell and Daniel Pryke

Very dramatic message piece, as an earthquake causes exploration of the bully/victim relationship of two young men.

(3) – #NotAllMen


ITC Presented By Village Spirit Productions

Written & Directed by Kel Vane

Cast: Michelle Burge, Margareta Moir and James Walkom

Strange Police procedural drama, police interrogation room delivers rough justice. Just the quirky unrealistic “Police Facts” via analysing all the lies “he says versus she says”. Discover the alleged victim versus the alleged perpetrator. Is she is going to miss out on the tax free $15000.00 NSW victim of crime payout?

(4) – The Wee Small Hours

The Wee Small Hours
The Wee Small Hours

ITC Presented By Angelfish Productions

Written by Leonie Jordan / Directed by Margaret Fitzgerald  / Music by Daniel O’Connor

Cast: Pauline Gardner & Rob White

Drama full of grief, regret and revenge. He has re-married, but has taken this 3am telephone call from his ex, on the anniversary of the death of their young daughter.

(5) – Not So Super

Not So Super
Not So Super

ITC Presented By Musketeer Productions

Written & Directed by Paulene Turner

Cast: Paul Byrne, Nicholas Drummond, Liz Hovey and Rebecca Towns

Comedy version of “The Incredibles” versus the Evil Pulse and starring the crazy super family with Flame, Fast, Mind Reader, Time Keeper.

(6) – Yellow Means Caution

Yellow Means Caution
Yellow Means Caution

Written by Gregory Crafts / Directed by Victoria Lewis

Cast: Emma Mylott & Andrew Wang

Message drama with comedy one-liners, as video game widow Loretta, in relationship crisis needs to find happiness within her rotten marriage with video gamer Max. She has happy painted every wall of every room, using bright bold “Yellow Submarine” coloured paint.

(7) – Love, Honour & Obey

Love, Honour, Obey
Love, Honour, Obey

Written by Sally Williams / Directed by Angeline Andrews

Cast: Kirra Farquharson and Will Reilly

Wife insists that her husband obeys her written instructions (including footnotes) detailing how her husband can get way with murdering her in cold blood, but he desperately needs her to stop interrupting him.

(8) – A Dog’s Dream

A Dog's Dream
A Dog’s Dream

Written by Jeffrey Fischer-Smith / Directed by Jace Pickard

Cast: Jack Dawson & Richard Lund

Message piece, yes interesting drama, that will take you on an unexpected trajectory. For Mark his dog’s dreams are real. Recently deceased Mark tells his partner Andy, that the family dog needs to be taken to the local park to grieve about Mark.

(9) – The Secret of Me

The Secret of Me
The Secret of Me

ITC Presented By Almost Evkav

Written by Sonal Moore / Directed by Evangeline Moore

Cast: Jack Marsden & Alexandra Joyce

Photographic art trends keep changing, and during Queen Victoria’s time, young children being captured in photos completely naked was a symbol of purity and not of sexuality. Strong believable performances, utterly intense dialogue, set in an photographic art gallery storeroom. Unexpectedly Ruth sees an extremely confronting paedophile photo of herself on exhibition, that unknowingly her Uncle Leo had taken of her, over twenty years ago. Dramatically ends with an unexpected resolution of her dilemma.

(10) – Waiting To Go

Waiting for Go
Waiting for Go

Written by Elspeth Tilley / Directed by Kym Vaitiekus

Cast: Barbara Hastings, Seb Normel

Clever comedy stereotyping, as these two dancing lollypop-sign-controller road-workers, from just outside your front gate, provide detailed political insanity, whilst doing a famous slapstick routine clearly inspired by the movie film “The Plank”.

All photos by Robert Miniter.

SHORT AND SWEET THEATRE 2017 Top 80 Week FIVE, runs from Wednesday 8th February 2017 to Sunday 12th February 2017 at 7.30 pm at the Depot Theatre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville, with on-site free car parking.

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If INTERSECTION is any indication of the professionalism, focus and commitment of the next generation of performing artists then the art is in a pretty good state. From 15 -24 years, these nineteen actors have my complete admiration for their unwavering composure as they brought to life the 10 short plays in the 90 minute production. I attended a matinee … it was viciously hot; patrons were reluctantly and unavoidably noisily leaving because of the swelter; there was a somewhat drunken, very loud party going on outside and yet not one performer short- changed their audience.

Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) has a few generations of experience behind them and is well known for their facilitation and creation of new works. INTERSECTION is one such. ATYP supports a diverse range of Youth Theatre activities including the annual National Studio where they work with young and emerging writers for youth. Continue reading ATYP PRESENTS ‘INTERSECTION ‘ @ STUDIO 1


The Sutherland Theatre Company is proudly presenting Andrew Morton’s heart-warming play, Bloom, at the Sutherland Memorial School of Arts from March 3-12.

Following the death of his father, 15-year-old Daniel and his mother Lisa are forced to move to an unfamiliar town. After a violent outburst at his new school, Daniel’s social worker Michelle suggests that he spend a week working with her father, Bobby, an urban gardener of several abandoned lots in the middle in the city.

A week soon turns into a few months and, as the two men spend the summer tending the gardens, they begin planting some much-needed hope in a neighbourhood plagued by blight and help each other heal old wounds.

A finalist at the Write Now festival and a winner of the Aurand Harris Memorial Playwriting Award, Bloom is a coming-of-age story about grief, growth and gardening.

Director Christiane Brawley chose the play because of its simple and relatable story about the power of human connection.

“The media is so full of material telling us of our cruelty and indifference to each other, but this story is about the positive ways that human interaction can enrich and revitalise us. I don’t think we can ever have too many reminders about the importance of kindness and family and friendship.”

The heart-warming story at the centre of the show has broad appeal.

“It is gently humorous and reminds us why it is good to be alive. It has characters and situations that everyone will recognise and a story which will make the audience smile and feel good.”

The multi-generational cast of talented local performers includes Graham Yates, Ben Moss, Mel Day, Grace Fabris and Emma Dalton.


Friday 3rd March @ 8pm Saturday 4th March @ 2pm Sunday 5th March @ 2pm Thursday 9th March @ 8pm Friday 10th March @ 8pm Saturday 11th March @ 8pm Sunday 12th March @ 2pm

Tickets are available from or by calling (02) 9150 7574.

For more about Bloom, visit
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What’s the right stuff for a small theatre company to succeed in such a crowded Sydney performance scene? Drive, nous, commitment and a unique take on what will strike a chord with audiences? The General Public Theatre Company seems to have all of this. They have shows on and on the go. They post with a strong social media presence to a loyal and growing following who have contributed to their Pozible campaign. They have been together long enough… since 2014. Solid so far. But more important to my appreciation of their outsider’s take, they are women. Young, unique and creative women. Queensland women. One of them is an alumnus of my own Townsville Alma Mater. Being an, albeit transplanted, creative Queenslander myself I took some cockroaches with me to see what we thought of their Double Bill last night

Pretty damn good stuff.

EUROPE WON’T FIX YOU is a humorous take on that great rite of passage, the OS trip. Alternate reality smacks straight into actual reality and the cast of 5 interchangeable mid-twenty year olds have some decidedly disturbing experiences. A nasty Paris ‘canard’ moment, a cleansing German hostel encounter and an anti-stodge veggie craving with all kinds of not going to happen. Continue reading GENERAL PUBLIC THEATRE COMPANY FUNDRAISER @ PACT


The York Theatre foyer at the Seymour Centre proved to be an informal red carpet whilst invitees gathered for drinks prior to the recent Sydney Theatre Awards ceremony.

As well as being able to put faces to the critics, young and upcoming actors and creatives took the opportunity to mix with journalists, award winners and even theatre royalty such as Peter Carroll and Maggie Dence.

Unlike in the States where the media is a little insular, Sydney’s media is a collegiate where everybody is supportive and approachable. This convivial atmosphere was on show for all to see on the night.

Featured image- Peter Carroll and Maggie Dence. Images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).


Featured image – Megan Hipwell, Leigh Scanlon, Margaret Olive and Annette Emerton in CALENDAR GIRLS.

CALENDAR GIRLS by Tim Firth comes from the popular 2003 film of the same name which starred Helen Mirren and Julie Walters.

The play is based on the true story of a Yorkshire women’s club that earned money for its village hospital by having members pose nude on an annual printed calendar. Presented by Castle Hill Players the show is a highly entertaining start to their 2017 season.

CALENDAR GIRLS is about friendship, loss, the strength and beauty of older women and community. The audience greatly appreciated the entire production with intakes of breath at the “nude” scenes and applause for the bravery of the actresses. There is comedy throughout but the jokes are gentle and the more serious moments are played with deep feeling and sensitivity. Continue reading CASTLE HILL PLAYERS PRESENT ‘CALENDAR GIRLS’ @ THE PAVILION THEATRE


There are nine simply superb plays being performed live on stage this week, at Short and Sweet. Captivating, strange, unique, and laugh-out-loud entertainment galore, and one with live music.

(1) – Wish You Were Hair

ITC Presented by RAPA Inc

Written by Kaz Getts / Directed by Kaz Getts and Warren Bradley

Cast – Warren Bradley, Christine Engelheart

Wish you were here
Wish you were here

Comedy all about HAIR from first pubes, cut hair, shaving, nair, long hair wig, chemo. Warren Bradley and Christine Engelheart are endearing with their multiple characters through time, constant flow of costume changes, covering from teenagers to seniors.

(2) – Diary of a Breakup / Breakdown

ITC Presented by Alex Broun Company

Written By Alex Broun / Directed by Peter Whitehead

Cast – Claire Bird, Michael Booker.

Diary of a Breakup
Diary of a Breakup

Alex Broun, is one of the world’s leading ten-minute playwrights, and has written more than one hundred ten minute plays :  Dialogue intense dramatic delight, as Claire Bird and Michael Booker individually deconstruct each and every intense moment, day by day during the thirty days immediately after their relationship ended.

(3) – Brexit

ITC Presented by Budding Theatre Company

Written and directed by Kirsty Budding

Cast:  Kaivu Suvarna, Amelia Green, Michael Ubrihien and Rina Onorato


Excellent comedy message piece set on Thursday 23rd June, the voting day for the EU Referendum, four Brits at a bus stop agree to disagree on the vote discussing Cultural Imperialism and stereotyping, all lead along to the very unexpected twist.

(4) – The Story of Darling Brown

ITC Presented by The Monologue Project

Written and Directed by Pete Malicki

Cast – Katharine Babatzanis

The Story of Darling Brown
The Story of Darling Brown

Comedy monologue as Katharine Babatzanis plays Darling Brown. Discusses her identical twin sister Jesse, berates her parents (Claire and John) for their calling their first born twin “Darling”.  Darling pretending to be Jesse, ends up enjoying being completely different to her identical twin, all caused by her hating the name her parents assigned her at birth.

(5) – Tapping Out

Written by Maura Pierlot / Directed by Cecile Payet

Cast:  Kaiya Bartholomew, Brayden Harry, Ethan Mestroni and Anton Smilek

Tapping Out
Tapping Out

Winning dialogue drama and timpani musical piece, with the drummers’s tap tap tap of musical syncopation on assorted musical instruments in the percussion family. Private language created in tap, introvert versus extrovert, a war between Wes with Jay, then Jay with Declan. Wes is trapped in his mind palace, by reliving all the complex events that occurred twelve months ago.

(6) – Hidden Depths

Written by Pamela Western / Directed by Mark Fowler

Cast:  Christine Aldridge and James Sugrue

Hidden Depths
Hidden Depths

A beautifully costumed Pirate (Roger), arrives for his first job interview at the the Tax Office. Perfectly timed comedy with perfect cast, expertly directed, was a huge audience favourite on the Opening Night. Reliving the glory days of buccaneers and flogging, apparently this modern day pirate is a computer hacker. Perfectly chosen music with nautical sound effects, end the performance.

(7) – Still Alive

ITC Presented by Nautanki Theatre

Written and Directed by Dilbagh Singh

Cast:  Dilroop Khangura, Shanelle Sin and Dilbagh Singh

Still Alive
Still Alive

Tulip is the delusional girl, trapped in the hot hell of her one room limbo. The devil is dressed as a doctor. Dressed in white as a nurse, is the angel. This fine drama, is subject to many possible interpretations.

(8) – Arthur and Marilyn

ITC Presented by Half Boy Company

Written By Jasper-Lee Lindsay / Directed by Danen Young

Cast:  Meg Hyeronimus and Alec Ebert

Arthur and Marilyn
Arthur and Marilyn

Delicious fictionalised dialogue, as we learn exactly how Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller met. All that they talked about, with a smoky haze caused by the cast constantly smoking a seemingly infinite amount of herbal cigarettes.

(9) – One Night Stan

ITC Presented by Third Bite

Written by Adam Szudrich / Directed by Grant Wilson

Cast:  Gina Cohen, Ally O’Brien and Emma Caldwell

One Night Stan
One Night Stan

Back into the dating game, and always at the same restaurant, Stan is dating these three women, Rachel, Holly and Marie. Comedy dialogue flows as each woman has vastly different dating experiences with the same man. Delightful and well worthy of getting a standing ovation, and of course easily garnered the longest applause from the Opening Night audience.

SHORT AND SWEET THEATRE 2017 Top 80 Week Four is playing the Depot Theatre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville, with on-site free parking, until Sunday 5th February 2017.

Featured photo from Hidden Depths. All photos by Robert Miniter.

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Social satire in theatre is a relatively rare beast these days – and farce more so – but in today’s warped contemporary political landscape it feels more necessary than ever.

Richie Black’s THE INSPECTION manages to update this most challenging of genres with surreal wit and panache.

Kate is a twenty-something single woman, living by herself in a typically messy apartment. Returning home after a night with a guy (“Y-chromosome, patterned baldness, wife and two kids – away for the weekend”) – she is alarmed to discover her Air BnB guest has held an orgy (“an artistic happening”) in her bathroom, her neighbour has off-loaded his baby on her, and the real-estate agent is planning an imminent inspection.

The cumulative effect of these events kick starts a hilarious sequence of misunderstandings, misadventures and ludicrous twists of logic that provides highly successful comedy for ninety minutes. Continue reading RICHIE BLACK’S ‘THE INSPECTION’ @ THE OLD 505 THEATRE NEWTOWN


This is quite the experience seeing one of the great Broadway musicals performed in the tiny, boutique venue that is the Hayes Theatre.

CABARET begins with naive young American writer Clifford Bradshaw arriving in jazz-age Berlin, determined to live life to the full. Bradshaw gets much more than he bargained for during his time in the German capital, and he leaves the city as the scourge of Nazism takes hold, a very different and much more worldly man.

From all vantage points Nicholas Christo’s production is impressive. First to the principal cast:

Jason Kos gives a warm, winning performance as the sensitive young writer.

Paul Capsis is mesmerising as the Cabaret’s cutting emcee, forever ‘telegraphing’ the fate that is soon to befall Germany.

Chelsea Gibbs grabs the role of Sally Bowles, one of the great parts in musical theatre, and makes it her own. Her version of the title song is incandescent and deserved the strong audience reaction that it received.

So good to see this production entice three veterans of the Australian theatre back to the stage.

Kate Fitzpatrick plays the tough and money hungry German Fraulein Schneider who runs a salubrious boarding house in which Herr Bradshaw takes lodgings.

John O’May is terrific as her shy, charming long time Jewish beau, the perfect gentlemen, forever buying her gifts.

Markus Graham plays the part of Ernst Ludwig, a local who befriends Bradshaw when he arrive in Berlin and shows him the nightlife of Berlin, and ends up being a very sinister figure.

Debora Krizak is just right as Fraulein Schneider’s wild natured scallywag boarder Fraulein Kost who always a sailor or two in her boudoir.

Christo’s set and staging, and Kelley Abbey’s choreography work well. A crack Kit Kat Club band led by pianist Lindsay Partridge, situated behind luscious satin curtains (and sometimes a scrim), play in a rousing fashion all the way through, with a particular highlight a red hot trumpet player.

James Browne’s production design was very effective. A few small cabaret dining tables were set up at the front of the stage to add to add ambience, with a few lucky patrons getting the best seats in the house.

A constant refrain through the play was the use of Kit Kat club performers, eerily looking on at the seedy action from either side of the stage.

Costumes (unattributed in the program), make-up by Mariel McClorey, wig and hair design by Drew-Elizabeth Johnstone and atmospheric, smokey lighting by Rob Sowinski were outstanding.

Recommended, CABARET is playing the Kit Kat Club, no I mean the Hayes Theatre until March 5. The production is then set to go to Melbourne, at the Athenaeum Theatre, at the beginning of May.


At a star-studded ceremony held on Monday, the winners of the 2016 Sydney Theatre Awards were announced, with 35 Awards presented, shared between 15 productions, which played in Sydney during the calendar year of 2016. Over 450 members of the Sydney theatre community packed the York Theatre at the Seymour Centre to celebrate the best of Sydney theatre – the first time the awards have been held there.

Best Mainstage Production was awarded to Belvoir’s The Drover’s Wife, which also won Mainstage awards for Best Director (Leticia Caceres), Best Score or Sound Design (The Sweats) and Best New Australian Work (Leah Purcell). Best Independent Production went to Sport for Jove’s Antigone, which also took Independent gongs for Best Director (Damien Ryan and Terry Karabelas), Best Female Actor in a Leading Role (Andrea Demetriades), Best Male Actor in a Leading Role (William Zappa), Best Stage Design and Best Costume Design (Melanie Liertz), and Best Lighting Design (Matt Cox).

Belvoir’s Faith Healer took out three acting awards in the Mainstage categories, Best Male Actor in a Leading Role (Colin Friels), Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role (Alison Whyte) and Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role (Pip Miller), while Best Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Mainstage Production went to Marta Dusseldorp for Griffin’s Gloria.

In the Musical categories, Hayes Theatre Co’s Little Shop of Horrors scooped the pool, winning Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical (Dean Bryant), Best Choreography (Andrew Hallsworth), Best Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical (Esther Hannaford) and Best Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical (Brent Hill). In an unusual decision, the critics voted Working Class Boy: An Evening of Stories and Songs, Jimmy Barnes’ very personal show about his life which played at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, as Best Cabaret.

The Sydney Theatre Award for Lifetime Achievement was presented to actor Judi Farr. From her early roles with the Old Tote Theatre Company, to her legendary performance as Linda Loman in Death of a Salesman for Nimrod opposite Warren Mitchell and Mel Gibson, and on to roles with the Sydney Theatre Company (Angels In America, Beauty Queen of Leenane), Belvoir (Cloudstreet, Buried Child) and all major Australian theatre companies, as well as an extensive body of work in film and television, Judi Farr has been at the top of her profession for more than 40 years.

Presenters at the Awards ceremony were Damien Bermingham, Adam Cook, Mel Dyer, Danielle Ironside, Madeleine Jones, Angharad Lindley, Luke McGettigan, Pacharo Mzembe, Tyran Parke, Anthony Phelan, Rebecca Poulter, Ellen Simpson, Minka Stevens, Ben Wood, Vanessa Wright and Meyne Wyatt; and there were performances from Robyn Archer, Ben Hall and David Campbell (Only Heaven Knows), and David Whitney and Kurt Phelan with a song and dance ensemble.

The Sydney Theatre Awards are run by a group of leading theatre critics to celebrate the strength, quality and diversity of theatre in Sydney. The Sydney Theatre Reviewers are Elissa Blake (Fairfax), Jason Blake (Fairfax), Dee Jefferson (Time Out), Deborah Jones (The Australian), Jo Litson (Sunday Telegraph/ Limelight), John McCallum (The Australian), Ben Neutze (Daily Review), Diana Simmonds (, Polly Simons (Daily Telegraph) and Cassie Tongue (AussieTheatre).

The Sydney Theatre Awards gratefully thanks its sponsors: The Seaborn, Broughton and Walford Foundation, Industrie, William Fletcher Foundation, Showcast, Currency Press, Ticketmaster, Hayes Theatre Co, Bellbird Cottages, ACMN and JPJ Audio.

Featured image – William Zappa. All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).