The Nutcracker and I, by Alexandra Dariescu, with ballerina Désirée Ballantyne, animations by Yeast Culture, and choreography by Jenna Lee. Photo by Mark Allen

Blending a piano rendition of Tchaikovky’s romantic melodies with 35,000 digital images and a live ballerina THE NUTCRACKER AND I produces a purely enjoyable and magical creation. Having both a world renowned concert pianist and ballerina performing against constantly changing colourful backgrounds and characters is a sublime and enchanting experience.

The production of THE NUTCRACKER AND I is quite beautiful but an unusual format. Images are projected onto a see-through black gauze screen at the front of the stage. Pianist Alexandra Dariescu and ballerina Désirée Ballantyne are illuminated behind the screen. The images tell the classical Nutcracker story. Snow is falling as the Silberhaus family decorates their Christmas tree. The magician and toymaker Drosselmeyer arrives. Presents are exchanged including a nutcracker. Clara’s dream that night includes the nutcracker fighting with the Mouse King before being transformed into a prince. The familiar story continues with matching images, both static and dynamic, on screen. Continue reading THE NUTCRACKER AND I : A SUBLIME AND ENCHANTING EXPERIENCE

TRAINSPOTTING THE PLAY @ Limelight on Oxford, 231 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

Thank you BAYER for inventing the completely non-addictive drug HEROIN. TRAINSPOTTING THE PLAY could never ever had existed without BAYER AG, the German multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company. From 1898 through to 1910, the German drug company BAYER marketed its “diamorphine” as an over-the-counter drug under its trademarked name HEROIN, advertised as a “non-addictive morphine substitute and cough suppressant”.

TRAINSPOTTING THE PLAY is blunt, dark and highly entertaining, and is an excellent way to experience all the joys of heroin (but with no consequences) including unemployment, waiting to overdose and die, needle sharing, death defying lifestyle choices. Expect strobe lighting, endless passion, controversy, strong nudity, strong explicit language, strong adult themes, sex and scenes of a sexual nature, intravenous drug usage, domestic violence, simulated gunfire, bodily fluids, plus scenes guaranteed to shock every audience.

TRAINSPOTTING THE PLAY is set in the 1980s, during the Edinburgh fringe festival and constantly is very confronting and is equally hilarious and controversial. Very violent, detailing the lost/empty lives and missed opportunities of these alcohol/heroin fuelled Edinburgh young men and young women, and their disintegrating friendship.

These self-destructive close friends, Spud, Renton, Sick Boy, Begbie are all on a short journey, direct to the horrific heart of a hell, located in Edinburgh. Psychos, junkies, wide-boys and no-hopers. Nine incredible actors, seen in multiple roles, together deliver a thought-proving and memorable live theatre experience. For adult audiences 18+ and remember that if you sit in the front row, then you too, will be part of the show.

Cast: Adam Golledge, Bruno Attanasio, Matthew Vautin, Jayden Muir, Shaw Cameron, Julie Bettens, Stephanie Eloise, Cassius Russell, Jenae O’Connor

GradCo Studio presents TRAINSPOTTING THE PLAY. Based on the novel by Irvine Welsh as adapted in 1994 by Harry Gibson. In London, winner of Sunday Times award for best new play.

Limelight on Oxford, 231 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst (near Taylor Square)
Season dates 16th until 26th January 2019 – 7.30pm Wed, Thurs, Fri, 2pm and 7.30pm Sat –
Running time 120 minutes with one interval.

GradCo Studio is a not-for-profit organisation whose main purpose is to create new theatre productions with graduates from Sydney Theatre School. The organisation was founded in September 2015 when the first round of graduates decided to take their collaboratively devised physical theatre show on tour. These actors created the company in order to work self-sufficiently and to continually produce their own work. Now in its third year, the company strives to make thought-provoking work and give its members multiple opportunities to perform.




Shakira Clanton is outstanding In Henrietta Baird’s harrowing one-woman play, THE WEEKEND. She dances, swears, laughs and cries as she tells Lara’s story of her search, in various pockets of Redfern, for her wayward husband. She embodies the voices of a variety of women, men and children. These various characters are full of personality and contrasts. Drug use is prevalent in this community and Shakira captures the different levels of degradation apparent in their voices as she searches through some decrepit drug dens in the towers of Redfern. Her performance as Lara captures her humanity, foibles, humour and determination of this wonderfully written character.

This play focuses on the conflicts of a mother who loves her children and goes interstate for three weeks work so that she can provide for them. She leaves them in the care of her partner Simon, the children’s father, but his drug addiction leads him to abandoning the children. She has seen many admirable aspects of Simon but as she discovers the drug houses he frequents and the women he has relationships with she begins to realise more about the situation and about herself. Continue reading THE WEEKEND @ CARRIAGEWORKS


Cherish Violet Blood in DEER WOMAN. Photo credit Prudence Upton

Seeing as much independent theatre as I do, I often encounter the rage of all women balled into a tight little fist and raised above head height.  Wrathfully expleted over 90 minutes, DEER WOMAN is the female fury, sudden or protracted, that all women feel at sometime in their lives.

But this morning’s distance gives pause.  What… what… if genders were swapped?  What would we feel?  Would we allow? We sit and are horrified as the themes and events creep into view, as the story the protagonist weaves becomes whole cloth.  Personally confronted, I reeled blinking into the heat with conflicting emotions and a conflict of intellectual response.  And a need to reach out to my best friend, my female best friend.

Any prospective audience is advised to take the trigger warnings about DEER WOMAN seriously as more than one woman left the performance which I attended and one young woman was still sobbing while waiting for her boyfriend outside.   So why attend? Continue reading DEER WOMAN. HAUNTING, CONFLICTING, VISCERAL.


It’s three hours and thirty minutes long but who’s counting, as COUNTING & CRACKING delivers exhilarating theatre at cracking pace.

Length cannot wither this production, a co-show between Belvoir and Co-Curious, nor custom stale it’s infinite variety of drama, tragedy, comedy, political intrigue and cultural identity.

Spanning a half century of upheaval, relocation and reunion, COUNTING & CRACKING looks at how the big political picture impacts upon the lives of people, and how easily populist policy can degenerate into genocide, and the creation of refugees.

COUNTING & CRACKING bubbles from the turmoil that beset Sri Lanka when populist National politics set Sinhalese against Tamil, dividing a country, with a quotient finding themselves in Australia.

Mathematical allusion is manifest in S. Shackthidharan’s superb and epic script with a central character being both mathematician and politician: “ One is one. Two is one plus one is two. If one always has a unit answering to every unit of the other, then we pronounce both sides equal.”

The quality of equality is core to COUNTING & CRACKING, exhibited and espoused by an exhilarating international ensemble displaying thrilling synchronicity, with so called minor characters emanating the same detail and minutiae as that of what would be considered traditional leads. Indeed, peerless performances abound, without exception, in this robust and international cast.

There’s a high octane energy propelling this production, a cavalcade of colour and movement, emotion and intellect, a precise and precious pageant of a play, sometimes fuelled by fear and frenzy, but mostly fed by humour and hope.

COUNTING & CRACKING is an astonishing amalgamation of realism and the magic of pure theatricality with live music – the actors are accompanied by two musicians in a succession of percussion which adds timbre and texture to this elixir of joy – and traditional dance.

Sydney Town Hall has been transformed into a grand theatrical space by set and costume designer, Dale Ferguson, in which a sprawling saga of people and democracy displaced unfolds in a most spectacular way.

Like his production of Sami in Paradise last year, Eamon Flack’s direction is an object lesson in the organisation of nuanced chaos and the comedy of compassion and community – a universe of exuberance.

Enthralling, exciting, playful and thought provoking, COUNTING & CRACKING is a must see theatrical event.



Photo Credit: Prudence Upton

THE CHAT.  As the audience enters the theatre space we are directed to our seats by the performers, a mix of ex-offenders and actors, who chat amongst us till the sound of a shredding machine signifies the start of the show. Les Wiggins has breached parole and a paper copy of his criminal history is shredded as he is to be given an opportunity to show who he truly is and gain his freedom.

In this devised work led by theatre maker and former parole officer, J R Brennan, with writer-performer David Woods, performer Ashley Dye and input from former prisoners, questions around the justice system are raised. Who and how are decisions made around  which offenders should be given parole, what happens if it goes wrong, how does a newly released inmate survive and go on to live a productive life and what supports are needed, are some of the areas considered. Continue reading THE CHAT. QUESTIONING THE SYSTEM


Production images: Clare Hawley

Not so such much a runaway hit as a stay-in-the-neighbourhood hit, IN THE HEIGHTS as directed by Luke Joslin brings a Washington Heights alive in a vibrant, energetic production with the closeness of community at its heart.  No mean feat on a stage as wide as the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House.   We love our House and audiences always have a sense of occasion in the iconic building but this was beyond expectations.  A night to bring the whole audience to their feet after a show that vibrates the barrio with brio onstage and brass behind.

The show was conceived, and has music and lyrics, by Lin-Manuel Miranda with the book by Quiara Alegría Hudes and Joslin directed the show at Hayes Theatre last year.  This production has many cast in common and shares musical direction from Lucy Bermingham and choreography from Amy Campbell.  It was a bona-fide hit then.  And will be now. Continue reading IN THE HEIGHTS. DANCIN’ SINGIN’ CELEBRATIN’


One night only fundraiser for New Ghosts Theatre to attend Fringe World Festival

There is a one night only fundraising performance of PAPER DOLL which played in Sydney, 2017, to rave reviews, including from SAG.   You can see our review here.

A man stands at a woman’s front door, soaking wet and unexpected. She isn’t surprised. He is older. She has grown-up, but he is not ready to admit that she’s no longer the girl, the princess, he left behind. He needs somewhere to stay and she is all he’s got.

The one night showing, supported by Red Line Productions, will assist the rising indie theatre company with their upcoming Perth tour of PAPER DOLL , as part of The Blue Room Theatre’s illustrious Summer Nights Program at Fringe World Festival.

Written by multi-award winning playwright Katy Warner in response to Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, the production is directed by Lucy Clements and features Hayley Pearl (YEN KXT, Abducting Diana New Theatre Sydney, King Lear Seymour Centre, All Saints & Cops LAC) and Martin Ashley Jones (Paper Doll Old Fitz Theatre, Hamlet Laycock Street Theatre & All Saints).

PAPER DOLL [Facebook Event] from New Ghosts Theatre [Facebook] will return to Sydney’s the Old Fitz Theatre [Facebook] on Monday 4th February, 7 pm.


With unforgettable songs and a deeply moving story by the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning creators of Next to Normal, IF THEN  is a fascinating, ambitious and original new musical with adoring fans worldwide.

Theatre & Company is  bringing this exciting new musical to NSW audiences for the first time.

Elizabeth, a city planner, moves back to New York to restart her life in the city of infinite possibilities. When her carefully designed plans collide with the whims of fate, Elizabeth’s life splits into two parallel paths. If/Then follows both stories, as this modern woman faces the intersection of choice and chance.

IF/THEN from Theatre & Company [Facebook] runs Feb 1-8 at Riverside Theatres, Parramatta.

With thanks to Theatre & Company, Sydney Arts Guide has a double pass giveaway to IF/THEN  for the 8pm performance on Saturday 2nd February, 2019.

To be in the running, email ( 
with IF_THEN as the subject and your full name.

Competition closes Midnight on Thursday January 24, 2019 when the winner will be drawn. Only the winner will be notified and the pass will be available at the box office on the day of performance.



THE OTHER SIDE OF 25 is part of Old 505 Theatre’s FRESHWORKS season.

The new one-and-a-half woman show!  Stand-up comedian Becca Hurd is bringing her new one-woman-show to The Old 505 Theatre in Newtown. Featuring original music and an original story, THE OTHER SIDE OF 25 is hysterical and heartfelt play is written and performed by Becca Hurd.

THE OTHER SIDE OF 25 tells the story of Amory, who, despite her best instincts, reluctantly agrees to become the surrogate for her sister’s baby. But after her sister and brother in-law unexpectedly die in a car crash, Amory finds herself stuck, pregnant and on the other side of 25.

The production team behind THE OTHER SIDE OF 25 almost entirely made up of female-identifying artists, something that was very important to Becca Hurd. “I wanted to tell a female-centric story, that captured the humour and pressure of a woman in her twenties.

More than just a story about surrogacy, THE OTHER SIDE OF 25 examines the expectations placed on young women, exploring pregnancy, family dynamics, and what it means for a young woman to grow up. In an age where the ‘kidult’ is king, the play takes the audience on an uproarious journey through the experiences of a very feisty female.

THE OTHER SIDE OF 25 plays 5-9 February as part of Old 505 Theatre’s FRESHWORKS season.   Tickets here.


This show is based on Roald Dahl’s 1964 children’s show. The book has been written by playwright David Greig, with original score by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman

This show had a long history dating back to its premiere on the 25th July, 2013 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, the West End of London. The production, directed by Sam Mendes ran continuously till the 7th January, 2017.

A reworked production opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on the 23 April, 2017 with a new director Jack O’Brien, choreography by Josh Bergasse and a new set designer Mark Thomson. The production closed on 15th November 2017 after 305 performances.

Now it’s Sydney’s turn with the production opening last night on Friday 11th January  again directed by Jack O’Brien. The production is a replica of the Broadway production with an Australian cast except for the role of Willy Wonka which is played by U.S actor Paul Slade Smith who played Grandpa George in the original Broadway production. Paul Slade Smith gives an outstanding production in the role.  Continue reading CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY : IT’S GOBSMACKINGLY GOOD FUN