Musical Theatre


Bonnie Lythgoe Productions presents Jack and the Beanstalk – a “Giant” 3D Family Musical Spectacular Panto. Directed by Bonnie Lythgoe, this colourful and family friendly production is full of audience participation, hilarious caricatures, and the most satisfying of corny dad jokes and slapstick comedy. The witty script, written by Christopher Wood, also contains a surprisingly titillating and cheeky streak of adult humour to keep the 18+ ‘kids’ engaged and entertained. Cultural references abound including a random guest appearance of dancing “Minions” (from the movie “Despicable Me”) in the second act.

Opening with disco ball laser effects that reach out across the large auditorium, the curtain rises on Christopher Wood’s colourful, fluorescent painted set of orange, green and hot pink. This glow in the dark design extends throughout the many flown set changes and the ensembles costumes.  Continue reading JACK AND THE BEANSTALK A ‘GIANT’ FAMILY MUSICAL SPECTACULAR PANTO @ THE STATE THEATRE


On a cold mid-winter night in Gwynneville, an inner suburb of Wollongong, a major regional city of NSW, an uplifting and theatrically hot event occurred – the premiere of an Australian musical ANVIL written by South Coast creative arts teacher Stephen Goldrick. 

The premiere benefited from a long gestation of its 20 something songs by its writer, through folk festivals and concerts, starting with some kind of artistic epiphany in the Abercrombie Caves, where the bushranger Ralph Entwhistle and his “ribbon” band of followers from Bathurst held out against a formidable arrange of colonial military and police force. The show honours the fate and values of innumerable small players in Australia’s early white history, individuals faced with invidious decisions under the iron grip of British imperial power. 

The show is a surprisingly rich tapestry of music styles, including classical and modern folk, love ballads (“Seven Secrets”) blues (“Not Repeatedly Yours”) a rock gallows number (“Gates of Time”), opening and closing (“Beat the Drums”) anthems, Gilbert and Sullivan ditties, choric chant, improvisations and underscoring. The actual text of the final sentence of the bushrangers is accompanied by baroque harpiscope composition. All the music is a pleasure to hear.

A larrikin playfulness of acting style, that finally assumes a Brechtian non naturalist stance, allows the diversity of music and stagecraft. Some moments – such a hands fluttering from offstage as a comedy riff – are risky, but it all hangs in a light coherence, that treads deftly through a panoply of emotions and action – ranging from sentimental, romantic, authoritarian, comedic, and melodramatic. Continue reading ANVIL : AN EXCITING NEW AUSTRALIAN MUSICAL


D2 Productions Presents: RUTHLESS!: THE MUSICAL,  winner of the New York Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical. RUTHLESS! : THE MUSICAL

RUTHLESS ! THE MUSICAL is a razor sharp send-up of ‘show biz”, full of one-liners, brassy show tunes and insane plot twists!

Talented and highly ambitious 8 year old, Tina Denmark, knows she was just born to play the lead in her school play. She will do anything to win the part – ANYTHING!! That includes murdering fellow student and leading lady, Louise Lerman! But will this success be enough for Tina….or will she want more?

With music by Marvin Laird and book and lyrics by Joel Paley, this outrageous and highly camp musical hit has garnered rave reviews during its long Off Broadway run. Spoofing shows like ‘Gypsy’ and ‘Mame’ and movies like ‘All About Eve’, it pokes a funny satirical finger at all those ‘show brats’ and their quest for fame and fortune.

Just turn up and see how ‘Ruthless!’ Tina can be! Starring an  all-‘female’ cast, this looks like it is going to be a great night of high camp and laughter.

6 Performances, 8 Women, 2 Acts and 105 minutes of ‘RUTHLESS’ ‘ entertainment!

All profits in aid of Dementia Australia

Wednesday, 28th August, 8:00 pm Thursday, 29th August, 8:00 pm Friday, 30th August, 8:00 pm Saturday, 31 August, 2:30 pm & 8:00 pm Sunday, 1 September, 2:30 pm at the Flight Path Theatre, 241 Addison Road, Marrickville.

For more about Ruthless! The Musical, visit
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Muriel..Mariel, however you call her, she is back entertaining audiences, this time at the Lyric.

What is it about the gawky girl from Porpoise Spit that so appeals to  audiences? I guess we just love her because she is an underdog and because she is so transparent and plucky.

If you loved P.J Hogan’s autobiographical story as a film  you may be thinking why would I want to see it as a musical. I can see your point of view, the film is an Australian classic. It launched the international careers of two of our finest actresses, Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths.

With this review I will try and twist your arm and persuade you to make a visit to the Lyric. For one thing you will love the vitality and the high energy of this production directed by music theatre wunderkind Simon Phillips.

The show has great production values. There are many set changes during the show and they all work well and complement the action. The costumes were great and suitably outrageous at times, especially when . Both costume and set design were by long time Phillips colleague Gabriela Tylesova.

Andrew Hallsworth’s choreography worked well moving a large cast around the stage with great skill.

The music score includes a lot of catchy songs by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall together with some great Abba songs.

The performances are all good. Natalie Abbott captures the dagginess and  steeliness of Muriel. Stefanie Jones is memorable as Muriel’s best friend and greatest supporter Rhonda Epinstall,

David James gives a very fine and comic performance as Muriel’s  irascible, devious, condescending father Bill Heslop and Pippa Grandison plays Muriel’s put upon wife Betty Heslop.

Jacob Warner as Perry Heslop and Manon-Gunderson-Briggs as Joanie Heslop play Muriel’s very unsympathetic siblings.

Long time music theatre performer Cheslea Plumley is Bill Heslop’s other woman, Deidra Chambers.

Stephen Madsen  gives a well judged comic performance as Muriel’s boyfriend, well sort of  Alexander Shkuratov.

As Muriel’s dear friends James Harden, Laura Bunting, Maxwell Simon and Evan Lever play the members of super pop group Abba.

There are many highlights in this show of highlights. After seeing the film man y times and having seen Simon Phillips production now in two incarnations my favourite moment remains when Stefanie Jones as Rhonda tells Muriel’s so called friends where to get off.

Highly recommended, MURIEL’S WEDDING THE MUSICAL opened at the Lyric Theatre at the Star on Thursday 4th July and is playing a strictly limited ten week season.

Running time : 2 hours and 49 minutes including one interval

Pics by Ben Apfelbaum











The theatrical slogan ‘Back By Popular Demand’ in the case of MURIEL’S WEDDING THE MUSICAL is not a mere lure but absolutely true.

The initial season at the Roslyn Packer Theatre was over subscribed many times over. Nevertheless this time around it is only playing from July 4 for a strictly limited ten week season at the Lyric Theatre.

At the Media Call where two  numbers were show cased – ‘Sydney’ and ‘Here Coms The Bride’, the set designer and the cast seemed to relish the larger stage area afforded at  the Lyric.

It is also a victim of its own success as the original leads Maggie McKenna and Madeline Jones were spirited away from the 2019 season. Maggie McKenna is appearing in a US National tour of Dear Evan Hansen whilst Madeleine Jones is appearing in the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child show in Melbourne.

Despite Elaine Simpson, the show’s Assistant Director declaring at the Media Call that it was good to be back at the musical’s spiritual home, it did have an ‘off Broadway’ season in Melbourne.

The new leads Natalie Abbott as Muriel and Stefanie Jones as best friend Rhonda received rave reviews from the Melbourne press.

In its initial run it garnered five Helpmann Awards, seven Sydney Theatre awards, the David Williamson Prize, an  Awgie award and an Aria award nomination. This year  the show collected two  further Helpmann award nominations for Natalie Abbott as Best Female Actor In A Musical and Pippa Grandison for Best Female Actor in A Supporting Role In A Musical.

In its debut season, this sunny, warm and poignant musical was the perfect complement to a Sydney summer.  In a cold and sometimes rainy winter the generated heat, laughter, infectious music and dance, and sheer, glittering brilliance will bring  a radiant glow to  banish the winter gloom.

MURIEL’S WEDDING THE MUSICAL opens at the Lyric Theatre on Thursday 4th July, 2019.

For further details visit

All pics by Ben Apfelbaum



Based on the hit film of the same name, The Full Monty, a ten-time Tony Award nominee, is filled with honest affection and engaging melodies. Not to mention the most highly anticipated closing number of any show.

While spying on their wives at a “Girls’ Night Out,” a group of unemployed steelworkers from Buffalo sees how much they enjoy watching male strippers. Jealous and emasculated, the men come up with a bold, unclothed way to make some quick cash. In preparing, they find themselves extremely exposed; not merely physically but emotionally. As they conquer their fears, self consciousness and anxieties they find strength as a group and overcome their inner demons.

With a raucous mix of razor-sharp humour and toe-tapping pizzazz, this heartwarming, upbeat comedy is a night not to be missed.

Please note this production contains nudity, coarse language and adult content. It is suitable of ages 15+
Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 September please note these shows are ADULT ONLY SHOWS

Saturday 14 September at 2:30pm and 7:30pm. Sunday 15 September at 12pm and 5pm. Tuesday 17 September at 7:30pm – ADULTS ONLY. Wednesday 18 September at 7:30pm – ADULTS ONLY. Thursday 19 September at 7:30pm. Friday 20 September at 7:30pm. Saturday 21 September at 2:30pm and 7:30pm.

For more about The Full Monty: The Broadway Musical, visit
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Sydney Arts Guide has one double pass to  give way  to the performance on Thursday 19th September. with the Full Monty promotion  in the subject heading. The winner will be advised by email. 


LADIES IN BLACK is a thought-provoking comedy drama about the lives of a group of department store employees in 1959 Sydney Australia, with important female lifestyle messages that are extremely relevant today. Timeless and memorable Australian coming of age story, that is focused on the naive bookish ultra-intelligent sixteen year old Lisa Miles. Lisa is initially employed in the “Cocktail Frocks” department at Goodes in the Sydney CBD, and her entertaining journey of multicultural discovery starts with Lisa meeting Magda, the woman who runs the “Model Gowns” department at Goodes.                               Continue reading LADIES IN BLACK presented by SPECTRUM THEATRE GROUP at BEGA


This was a night at the opera where one is just swept along by the lush music and the great silliness of the plot. It is a blt like a Shakespeare comedy  except of course the work is by the great team of Gilbert and Sullivan.

This MIKADO  has been well directed by Elizabeth Lowrencev with a very fine orchestra conducted by Vincent Colagiuri

Brett Cocker made a very grand and regal entrance late in the play as the Mikado of Japan.

Daniel Verschuer gave a very fine performance as the Mikado’s son, disguised as a wandering minstrel. His comic timing was excellent as he often wanted to do himself in but was stopped at the last moment. Continue reading ROCKDALE OPERA COMPANY PRESENTS ‘THE MIKADO’


On a cold winter’s night RAZORHURST took us into the world of vice and crime in the Kings Cross/Darlinghurst area in the 1920s and 1930s.

The play focuses on two of the leading crime figures of the time, Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh, who at their height had rival gangs Such was the intensity of their that at one time, in 1936, the Police Commissioner intervened and organised a truce between them.

I enjoyed this look into the dark side of our history. Tilly’s main vice was prostitution, she had a small empire of  brothels, whereas Kate’s thing was sly grog shops as well as drug dealing. Continue reading RAZORHURST @ THE HAYES


This is the 40th anniversary production of SWEENEY TODD whose full title is SWEENEY TODD THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET – A MUSICAL THRILLER.

When Stephen Sondheim saw a play directed by Christopher Bond in 1973 he saw the possibility of composing a musical regarding the murderous Sweeney Todd. Enlisting the aid of Harold Wheeler to write the book, Sondheim went about writing the music and lyrics for the new musical, and when it debuted on Broadway in 1979 it garnered eight Tony awards.

This 40th anniversary production runs for only four days at the International Convention Centre. I am puzzled by this as this is a very ambitious and wonderful production. Perhaps it was the fact that the cavernous Convention Centre would be difficult to fill for a more lengthy season which is a shame. Continue reading SWEENEY TODD A MUSICAL THRILLER @ ICC THEATRE


Disney lovers rejoice! The 1999 classic ‘Tarzan’ will be taking the stage at Bankstown’s Bryan Brown Theatre in just four weeks. Canterbury Theatre Guild is proud to be one of the very small handful of Australian community theatre companies to stage this incredible musical.

Based on Disney’s epic animated film and Edgar Rice Burrough’s ‘Tarzan of the Apes’, the production features a fantastic lineup of heart-pumping songs written by Phil Collins, including Academy Award winning “You’ll Be in My Heart,” plus “Son of Man” and “Two Worlds,” (beautifully musically directed by Clare Moroney) making for an unforgettable theatrical experience for all.

The clever, hilarious and thought-provoking script is based on a book by Tony Award-winning playwright, David Henry Hwang, whose themes reflect family, human nature, and acceptance of differences – we can guarantee that parents won’t be bored!

After washing up on the shores of West Africa, a baby boy is taken in and raised by gorillas, where he strives to adapt and be accepted by his adoptive family. Years later, when a human expedition finds their way into gorilla territory and Tarzan encounters creatures like himself for the first time, Tarzan begins to question his human origins, and where he truly belongs.

Hannah Barn directs an incredibly talented cast of all ages across only 6 shows, in a production that both the young and young at heart will love.

“Tarzan is a fun filled show for the whole family. The music alone, written by Phil Collins, is reason enough for you to get a ticket! We’ve set it in modern day and given Jane a more appropriate outfit for exploring and discovering the jungle. With gorillas being an endangered species, it’s been a very educational journey bringing to life this Disney Classic. It’s a story about nontraditional families and discovering one’s true self, and understanding that at the heart of it all – it’s all above love and acceptance.”

Hannah is proud to lead a cast of all ages, including a full ensemble of both kids and adults, as well as featured dancers (whose impressive and fast-paced numbers are led by skilled choreographer Teale Howie) to support the roster of gifted leads.

“My cast is incredible – the youngest is 7 years old – and they bring to life the fun and energetic characters with such truth and passion that you can’t help smiling and dancing along.”

Wednesday 10 July 2019 7:30 PM
Thursday 11 July 2019 7:30 PM
Friday 12 July 2019 7:30 PM
Saturday 13 July 2019 1:30 PM & 7:30 PM
Sunday 14 July 2019 4:00 PM

at the Bryan Brown Theatre, corner Rickard Road and Chapel Road, Bankstown


For more about Tarzan The Stage Musical – Canterbury Theatre Guild, visit
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