Pic Robert Catto

Pic Robert Catto
Pic Robert Catto

This Brecht-Weill operatic double-bill at the Old Fitz is an outstanding production. Exuberant musical theatre at its best! Who would have thought 17 musicians, the conductor, a piano and seven performers could fit into the Old Fitz Theatre? The removal of the back screen and excellent use of the loft meant nothing looked cramped on the enlarged stage. There was room for action, dance and, of course, song. 

The first piece is The Seven Deadly Sins. Bertolt Brecht wrote the lyrics and Kurt Weill wrote the music in 1933 during the Weimar Republic and chaotic upheaval in Europe. The piece displays the famous collaborators’ satirical anti bourgeois invective, hate of the hypocrisy of the Church at the time and their fury at the deprivation of the working-class. In this production, Director Constantine Costi’s presentation of the seven sins (pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony and sloth) is fast-paced, at times hysterically funny and musically faithful to the original score. 

Not much is faithful to the original staging of the opera…and thankfully so. This staging in the Old Fitz is wonderful – fast, quirky, bizarre and totally exhilarating to watch. The program says The Seven Deadly Sins is “about two sisters hustling their way across America. They will charm and swindle to make ends meet in any way they can to survive.” It is about so much more, because a Brechtian world expands the possibilities. 

The second piece is the Brecht-Weill Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. This opera caused an uproar when it premiered in 1930 in Leipzig, with Nazis in the audience protesting. It opened in Berlin in 1933 and was an immediate success. The piece attacks materialism and the illicit pleasures of the fictitious city. No doubt Brechtian scholars argue over what city Mahagonny might represent.  Continue reading THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS AND MAHAGONNY SONGSPIEL



SHORT+SWEET “The biggest little theatre festival in the world” now completes the COVID-19-interrupted 2021 season (total season of eleven months – but not defeated) that started during May 2021. Finally in April 2022, over the weekend of 1st 2nd 3rd April 2022, you can experience all of the SHORT+SWEET semi-finals plays, and then the Gala Performance and Awards Presentation. Continue reading SHORT AND SWEET SYDNEY 2021 JUDGING GALA FINAL – APRIL 2022


In James Elazzi’s THE SON OF BYBLOS, Adam has everything under control. As each day passes and he knows what to expect: Casual sex when he wants it, his traditional Lebanese parents wrapped around his finger and the only person he can be his true self with, his cousin Claire, always right by his side. He has a grip on everything and is content.

Until Claire suddenly announces her engagement to a man abroad in Lebanon.

With this one decision their truce is shaken, and little by little Adam begins to lose his grip. Sex isn’t getting him high anymore and his parents start asking questions he hasn’t prepared answers to. His private world and cultural expectations finally clash and the lies that used to keep his life together won’t work for him any longer.

Written by James Elazzi and directed by Anna Jahjah, SON Of BYBLOS is presented by Brave New Word Theatre Company and will play downstairs at Belvoir Street Theatre between the 4th and 21st May 2022. The production is part of Belvoir’s 25A initiative to support the artists of the future.


Amy Hack as Miriam in ‘A Is for Apple’. Pic Robert Catto

Jewish playwright Jessica Bellamy who wrote the play ‘Shabbat Dinner’ is  back with her new play A IS FOR APPLE.

Shoshana is a twelve year old jewish girl studying for her bat mitzvah. In  the jewish religion, when a girl turns thirteen, she goes through  a ceremony, the bat mitzvah, after she is deemed to have become a woman. Shoshana’s teacher is Miriam,  twice her age  but who isn’t condescending to her.

It isn’t too long into the play that one realises that this isn’t going to be a conventional teacher/student relationship. Both have strong personalities and open minds.

With Shoshana on the cusp of womanhood, together they go on an exploration to find out what it means to be a  vibrant jewish woman in 2022. Continue reading A IS FOR APPLE : VIBRANT, IRREVERENT THEATRE


It’s The War on the Election! Charles Firth (The Chaser), James Schloeffel (The Shovel) and the legendary Mark Humphries (ABC’s 7:30) have joined forces to provide a masterclass on the ancient art of political bullshitting, just in time for the Federal Election.

Completing the trio’s trilogy of sold-out shows (following 2019’s War on the Fucking Election and War on 2021), Spin will explore the techniques of deception and manipulation used by politicians to win people over.  With their trademark satirical edge altogether, Charles, James and Mark have planned for the 2022 Federal Election with more scrutiny than all the major parties combined.

Tues April 12                  Brisbane           Powerhouse
Wed April 13                 Canberra            Canberra Theatre
Thurs April 28                Melbourne         Athenaeum Theatre
Fri April 29                      Hobart              Theatre Royal
Wed May 4                     Sydney              Enmore Theatre

With seat-by-seat analysis and deep dives on all the techniques politicians use to deceive, lie, evade and dissemble, it’s like the election night coverage, but with really hot, sexy hosts. Will Morrison be able to pull off back-to-back miracles? Which desks in Parliament House are safe to touch? What photo-op pairs best with covering up a sex-scandal? What on earth is an ‘Anthony Albanese’ anyway? Spin has every possible election question answered.

“We look forward to presenting audiences with a nuanced election show, but we decided that was too hard so we just called Peter Dutton a potato instead,” said Charles Firth.

“It’s the only show where we cook a Scott Morrison curry live on stage,” said James Schloeffel.

“I’m only here to be eye candy,” said Mark Humphries.

Tickets :


Matt Day as Charles in ‘Blithe Spirit’ at the Sydney Opera House. pic Prudence Upton
Megan Wilding and Bessie Holland rn ‘Blithe Spirit’ at the Sydney Opera House. Pic Prudence Upton

In Noel Coward’s BLITHE SPIRIT Matt Day plays Charles Condomine, a novelist who’s recently married his second wife Ruth after the tragic death of his first, Elvira. In the hopes of gathering some material for his new book, Charles invites eccentric medium Madame Arcati to his house. The couple and their droll friends expect on a lark, and perhaps a few cheap scares. But the ritual goes terribly  awry when Elvira, the ghost of Charles’ first wife suddenly makes  an appearance.

Now if the great Viennese psychiatrist Sigmund Freud had seen the play he would no doubt have come up with the conclusion that the ghost was in Charles’ head and  would have laid him on his couch to work through his issues.

Rather than the drama that Freud would create, out of his scenario he has created one of the great comedies of the twentieth century.

Coward deftly includes Hamlet’s famous ‘lecture’ to his  best friend Horatio; ‘there is more to heaven and earth than  dreamt of in your philosophy ‘ gently playing with us to believe that just maybe the upcoming seance may be part of the natural world more than just hocus-pocus.

Matt Day plays Charles Condamine, the main character who sees the chaotic action  come at him from all sides. In one of the plays main scenes he finally gets to prove to Ruth that Elvira is not just a figment of his imagination when her convinces Elvira to move a vase across the room. Continue reading BLITHE SPIRIT : NOEL COWARD’S PEERLESS TALENT TO AMUSE


Testing, testing, one, two, three. Transmission begins from Alpha Bravo. Listen very carefully, I don’t have much time and I think I’m being watched. And bugged. So, I’ll whisper.

As instructed, I attended New Theatre to surveil their production of THE SPOOK. Very droll. Looks like New Theatre is up to old tricks. Believe this play really a Commie plot to undermine ASIO, to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids with satire and symbolism creating a subterfuge for the usurpation of national security.

The “show” starts off with a supposed ASIO mole dictating a surveillance report into a tape recorder. It’s supposed to be 1965 with reference to Menzies and Vietnam, but I reckon that’s code for ScoMo and any number of contemporary conflicts we’ve coat tailed on in the lingering “all the way with LBJ” mantra. And speaking of contemporary, is anyone fooled about speeches in the play about the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia? It’s obviously coded messaging about current events in Ukraine.

Churchill is attributed to saying an Iron Curtain has fallen across the continent, but a black scrim divides the stage of New Theatre, another bit of symbolism, no doubt, not just a device for clandestine set changes.

And there’s an obvious attack on Australia’s immigration policy with homeland security personnel again being portrayed as some heartless potato headed goons.

There’s fictions, factions and frictions within; a Pandora’s Box of paranoia.

I spy the “show” is directed by Rosane McNamara. She’s Old Guard New so we probably already have a file on her. As for her collaborators, it’s a cast of the usual competent suspects, a collective, they’d call it, with a smattering of debutantes. New newcomer, Tristan Black, was bloody convincing as an ASIO agent. Is that his real name? Is he a mole? If so, outstanding infiltration. Spooky.

THE SPOOK is just the sort of subversive theatre that should attract a wide and enthusiastic audience, so two options are suggested.

Option 1: secure all remaining tickets so as to prevent members of the paying public. These are probably rare as hens teeth such as the palpable popularity of the performance attended.

Option 2: Keep the season under surveillance. With an election coming up, no knowing what havoc THE SPOOK may unleash.

Transmission terminated.

Alpha Bravo New Theatre.

THE SPOOK  by Melissa Reeves

Thursday – Saturday 7:30pm
Sunday 5pm
Final performance: Sat 9 April 2pm

Running time: 2hrs 45mins (including interval)


Ken Welsh in Geoffrey Sykes ‘Blood On the Wattle’

Sydney playwright  Geoffrey Sykes’ play BLOOD ON THE WATTLE takes us into the world of Karl Matters, the cynical, world weary, conservative member for Western Slopes.

It is coming up to election time and Karl looks like he is going to miss out on pre-selection by his party as they aren’t impressed by his progressive attitude in relation to climate change policy.

Helping to keep Karl’s stress levels from rising too far is his very capable personal assistant, Louise Patterson.

This rather brittle status quo is interrupted when Karl meets Vania, a Middle Eastern lady, at a local cafe. Vania is a casual farmworker who is trying her luck in town.

Their first meeting doesn’t end well. Karl goes and kisses Vania on the cheek and Vania is affronted by this. Continue reading BLOOD ON THE WATTLE : A FEISTY POLITICAL PLAY


Above : Joshua Robson in the role of Phantom.  Featured image- the stage with stunning harbour backdrop. Images: Prudence Upton.

This year’s Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour event celebrates tbe special magic of musical theatre with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. This musical burst onto the global scene in 1986 and still remains the longest running Broadway show of all time.  It is a perfect fit for the Opera on the Harbour vibe and runs over twenty six performances.  Over two hundred cast, creatives, musicians and tech crew breathe alfresco life into this much loved musical.

Gabriela Tylesova’s sprawling set rises above the harbour with gentle tilt, a gilded, fractured proscenium arch reaching out from the tower of opera boxes on one side and massive downward swooping staircase on the other. The replica Paris Opera Garnier chandelier is hoisted all around the set with the Sydney city night skyline. Sydney Opera house and harbour supplies a salubrious backdrop for the recreation of the haunted nineteenth century Paris Opera House.

There is amazing attention to detail in creating a set for this stage classic on a large outdoor scale. The cornucopia of costumes plus wigs in Tylesova’s lush designs for dancers, singers and principals constantly splash the harbour stage with constant colour. The masquerade ball scene to open Act Two  is an immense highlight in this regard, with the blocking across the set and unison movement on the grand staircase  creating the grandiose effect.

Above : Cast of Phantom of the Opera perform ‘Masquerade’. Image : Prudence Upton.

Congratulations must go to Director Simon Phillips, Choreographer Simone Sault and Assistant Director Shaun Rennie for traffic control across the Handa Opera on the Harbour stage. Shifts from huge ensemble needing to quickly meld to intimate moments with much fewer protagonists work so well. These changes of place are as impressive as any pryro, firework or pre-show sunset effect to be seen.

Use of the staircase, railings, front stage section and moat brings  the action even closer to us in slick swathes of multidirection. Shifts to the tortured Phantom’s lair are quickly achieved via the sliding  in and out of his mirrored organ and step structure, with some great outdoor mist and the gentle glide of his ominous boat across his lake encircling the base and back of the stage.

Sonic blend achieved between the orchestra, soloists and chorus was rather formidable given the necessary evils and challenges of amplification for an open air performance. Lloyd Webber’s iconic Phantom theme music punched out into the Harbour as did many favourite songs from mostly local theatre legends, thrilling fans and bullying the bad weather back into its corner a la fois.

Above:  The Phantom (Joshua Robson) and Christine (Georgina Hopson). Image : Prudence Upton.

Fine parody of the Italianate opera Diva and her emotional tenor leaps out at us with duetto excellence in this production whenever Naomi Johns and Paul Tabone light up the stage as the bumbling Carlotta Giudicelli and Ubaldo Piangi. Comic timing and melodramatic operatic accent were fantastic from this flamboyantly costumed and finely placed pair.

The love triangle of Christine Daae (Georgina Hopson) , Raoul-Vicomte de Chagny (Callum Francis) and Phantom (Joshua Robson) is a dynamic equilateral here.  Callum Francis brings his global stage experience and characteristion skill to Mrs Macquarie’s Point, giving an energetic and dashing version of the ingenue’s rekindled childhood love, Raoul. He uses the stage gallantly, with perfect chemistry between his character and the grown-up Christine.

Above: Michael Cormick as Monsieur Firmin, Paul Tabone as Piangi, Martin Crewes as Monsieur Andre and Naomi Johns as Carlotta. Image: Prudence Upton.

Georgina Hopson presents quite a layered portrayal of Christine, with breathtaking vocal control. Her super-secure contours reach to the fabled vocal heights of her well-known song set.  ‘Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again’ is a showstopper moment with exemplary  building to a point, pace and manipulation of tone colour on the musical theatre stage

Vulnerability, desperation and anger are nicely developed by Geoergina Hopson for Christine’s famous plight over the night. All packaged with watchable momentum and a killer vocal delivery, finding light in the popular music and controlled nuance in the dark of the drama.

Joshua Robson also contributes winningly to the Phantom franchise. Once more, a multi-layered, powerful reading brings freshness to the role with fine reference to the savagery of the character’s agony and history.

This Phantom is engaged, enlightened and erratic. Robson’s acting at the climax of the show depicting a crushed, unmasked Phantom has acute realness. His attack in the larger  moments was powerhouse. Throughout there is a full, menacing spoken and sung voice as varied and colourful as the glittering theatre he invades.

Comedy and well-directed energy is firmly provided in the narrative’s hilarious note-filled flow by theatre owners Michael Cormick (Monsieur Firmin) and Martin Crewes (Monsier Andre).

Above : Callum Francis in the role of Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny. Image: Prudence Upton.

The harsh caricature of Madame Giry as ballet mistress and confidante to the struggling Phantom is pointedly portrayed by Maree Johnson. Johnson gifts us an extension her Broadway-honed success in this role. This dance captain of a character leads the cast and story about the sprawling set with superstar adroitness, black ballet class stick as secure as her performance. Kelsi Boyden as Meg Giry was also a secure and energetic thread in the storytelling.

The chance to see and hear Phantom of the Opera elevated, magnified and celebrated outdoors should not be missed. Hovering with genius illusion and to very special effect above and about the theatre of our stunning Sydney Harbour, it revives the legend vividly. Andrew Lloyd Webber himself witnessed opening night on our shores. He must have loved how the beautiful  harbour night time and this company sharpens his show, heightening sensation for all.






Befrin Axtjurn Jackson as Vania and Ken Welsh plays Karl in Geoffrey Sykes’ play ‘Blood On The Wattle’.

What is the gutsiest, most definitively feminine role an actor can play? The foxy Rosalind? The wily-shrewd Kate? The vaginal-nectarine goddess of war Cleopatra?

Today, a new contender vies to be THE feminine dramatic role an actor would die for the chance to wrestle-with on the stage.

Like Rosalind, she runs rings around the man she baits. Like Kate, she takes the upper hand to get what turns her on by playing the man who thinks he is pulling the strings. Like Cleopatra, she mesmerises the man into painfully becoming, at least on his defeat, utterly renewed.

Her name: Vania Azadi. The play: BLOOD ON THE WATTLE. The author and producer: Geoffrey Sykes. Continue reading BLOOD ON THE WATTLE @ RICHARD WHERRETT STUDIO


Darlinghurst Theatre Company is proud to present Malthouse Theatre’s world premiere production of Stay Woke, written by Aran Thangaratnam and directed by Bridget Balodis. 

Opening in Melbourne earlier this month to critical and public acclaim, this new comedy stars Green Room Award-winning Dushan Phillips as Niv and newcomer Kaivu Suvarna as his younger brother Sai. Niv has gone vegan and is madly in love with Mae, who identifies as non-binary and is played by Brooke Lee. He’s starting his own business and seems to have finally found himself after years as the black sheep of the family. In an attempt to bury the hatchet on a lifelong rivalry, Niv invites golden child Sai and his new girlfriend Kate, played by Rose Adams, on a ski trip so they can put the past aside for the sake of family. As the party banter turns political, Kate stumbles into a minefield and finds herself the focal point of an all-out war. 

Director and Malthouse Theatre Artist in Residence, Bridget Balodis, says, “Stay Woke is so contemporary in its references and so fearless in its desire to tackle issues like white fragility, weaponised wokeness, and cultural appropriation.”  Continue reading MELBOURNE MALTHOUSE’S ‘STAY WOKE’ @ THE DARLO


Lachlan Stevenson , Brittany Santariga and James Thomassson in ‘Orphans’. 

A theatre company I have never heard of…A play I have never heard of…A venue I have never been to before…This was a wildcard night at the theatre which proved to be very worthwhile.

ORPHANS is a zinger of a play by English playwright Dennis Kelly whose previous credits include Matilda The Musical. 

It is a domestic drama. Young couple Danny and Helen live in a ramshackle apartment in a rough neighbourhood. They have a young boy who is being minded by Danny’s mother and Helen is expecting another child.

Helen’s troubled brother Liam comes into the apartment whilst they are eating with his shirt drenched in blood. Liam has got himself into trouble again. Helen and Danny go into damage control, try and discover a holding pattern which threatens to break apart at any time. Continue reading ORPHANS : A SEARING PSYCHODRAMA



Kendall Drury and Aimee Honor in ‘lady Windermere’s Fan’ at the Genesian Theatre. Pic Craig O’Regan
Michaela Noonan and Kendall Drury in ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ at the Genesian Theatre. Pic Craig O’Regan

In the great Oscar Wilde’s 1892 play LADY WINDEMERE’S FAN It is the day of lady Windemere’s twenty first birthday ball. She is presented with both  a beautiful  fan from her husband and a shocking suspicion generated by her friend the Duchess of Berwick that her husband  is having an affair with a mysterious older woman, Mrs Erlynne.

After a series of adulterous rumours are unveiled, she discovers that her husband has been secretly siphoning large amounts of money into her account The Duchess tells Lady Windemere that Mrs Erlynne is a woman who has set the tongues of London’s elite wagging.

Next to Oscar’s ‘The Importance Of Being Earnest’, this play is considered his finest comic work. The play includes some of Oscar’s wittiest barbs. There are great  lines such as. ‘I can resist everything except temptation ‘. Continue reading LADY WINDEMERE’S FAN : OSCAR WILDE’S SATIRE IS STILL A BULLSEYE


Jacinda Patty’s Cindy is a 30? woman of Greek heritage who has returned from a soul-searching backpacking trip with no money and no boyfriend and the only housing prospect is living with her 80-year-old Yiayia.

She is also trying to find her perfect match on Tinder.

It’s a First World Millennial problem, right? One would think so, but YiaYia is in on the act as well, having lost her husband several years ago and is now ready to steal some of Cindy’s red lipstick and start dating as well; albeit in a more ol’ fashioned and dare we say, successful, way.

Fringe Festivals are great launch pads for trying new work and this work does have a timeless theme, the search for romantic love and a lifelong partner. Or in Yiayia’s case as long as they’ve got left.

It’s a one woman show, with Jacinda transforming from Yiayia to Cindy with a simple physical shift and at times staging a delightful two-way chat between the two. It’s a classic routine.

She also includes some dance routines that erupt spontaneously at intervals. Of note was Single Ladies by Beyonce. A refreshing take on that particular number. Continue reading TINDER CINDY AT NEWCASTLE FRINGE



This actor friendly play, with its simple, sweet structure, has had a long history.  An actor and an actress take to the stage with scripts in hand and take their seats with a table between them. Each has a glass of water on the table in case their throats run dry.

They become the characters Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner and we follow their correspondence from early childhood to old age at which time Gardner dies and Makepeace, forever the writer, writes a final letter of condolence, replete with fond memories,  to Gardner’s mother.  

Over the years, many American actors have had their time playing in ‘Love Letters’. A combination I would have loved to see was when Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden, costars of the great sitcom ‘I Dream Of Jeannie’, performed the play in New York  in the early 1990s.  Continue reading LOVE LETTERS : A LYRICAL TALE POIGNANTLY TOLD


Photo: Jeorg Lehmann

Newcastle local performing artist Louise Chapman is a real self-starter. Rather than traipse around auditions and wait for the phone to ring, or whatever, she reaches out to playwrights and other artists from around the world to collaborate and create her own one woman show.

THE LOU CHAPMAN SHOW is “a smart, sexy, funny theatrical event which premieres original plays written especially for Lou. It’s like a cross between Eve Ensor’s Vagina Monologues and Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette, with a series of extremely funny and emotive performances.”

In the Newcastle Fringe’s inaugural season of THE LOU CHAPMAN SHOW, Lou performs 12 characters in 6 plays written by 5 playwrights, directed by 5 directors from 3 countries and 6 cities. All pieces were created online except for – A Real Thing by Newcastle award winning playwright Vanessa Bates that features an interesting connection between walnuts, brains and murder.

 Lou greets the audience as they arrive, dressed in a delightful 70’s hippy outfit in preparation for her first monologue. Quick adaptations of wardrobe while a peppy soundtrack plays, and a minor set change takes us from one monologue to the next with ease. It’s never dull.

Signs From Above looks at how a random fire on a train in New York gets her back on track while Gasless in Ohio takes us on a road trip from New York to Indiana, at a time when everything you needed really could fit in the backseat of a car, except for the gas. Both these pieces were written by Lou and directed by Sinda Nichols.

Other pieces rapidly follow: The Howling by Maitland’s Helen Hopcroft, inspired by Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Special by Ana Louise Davis, an edgy, confronting feminist piece about professional ethics in the yoga space. It combines yoga-movement with spoken word and poses the question: is it worth being singled out as ‘special’?

It’s Easier to Say Clitoris When You’re Dead written mid-pandemic by Fiona Leonard and directed via Zoom from Düsseldorf in Germany, is a call to arms encouraging women to seek joy as a fierce act of body loving rebellion. Never mind that the woman doing the encouraging is dead after suffering a massive heart attack while masturbating in the bathtub.

This hour long show really showcases Lou Chapman’s virtuoso talent as she effortlessly adopts the voice, posture, and mannerisms of a range of characters and sexual orientations. It’s a bit of a masterclass and is indicative of the years of study and commitment to her craft.

Lou is a graduate of New York City’s Atlantic Theater Company 2-year professional acting conservatory, studying with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet and Academy Award nominee William H Macy. She has worked in New York and has a theatrical CV too long to begin to list here.

Just go see the show.

Lulu Bell Productions Presents THE LOU CHAPMAN SHOW at Newcastle Fringe 2022 Fri 25 & Sat 26 MARCH @ 7.30pm at Creative Arts Space, 145 Beaumont Street, Hamilton NSW 2303


Featured image : It’s Easier to Say Clitoris When You’re Dead.
Photo: Jeorg Lehmann










Jacinda Patty’s Cindy is a 30? woman of Greek heritage who has returned from a soul-searching backpacking trip with no money and no boyfriend and the only housing prospect is living with her 80-year-old Yiayia.

She is also trying to find her perfect match on Tinder.

It’s a First World Millennial problem, right? One would think so, but YiaYia is in on the act as well, having lost her husband several years ago and is now ready to steal some of Cindy’s red lipstick and start dating as well; albeit in a more ol’ fashioned and dare we say, successful, way.

Fringe Festivals are great launch pads for trying new work and this work does have a timeless theme, the search for romantic love and a lifelong partner. Or in Yiayia’s case as long as they’ve got left. Continue reading TINDER CINDY @ NEWCASTLE FRINGE


As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations Currency Press held the Australian Playwright Festival over the weekend of the 18th to 20th March 2022. 

The Festival was well attended and it was pleasing to see a lot of young people. The Festival  was built around a number of panel discussions which proved very interesting.

Patricia Cornelius  gave the keynote Festival address and spoke about  her extensive career including her time with the Melbourne Workers Theatre working alongside such luminaries as Andrew Bovell. 

Writing Taboos : Voicing the Unspeakable was chaired by Currency Press editor Katie Pollock and featured prolific Australian playwright Hilary Bell. Bell talked about a number of plays including ‘Wolf Lullaby’ which had a very successful season at the Stables Theatre in Kings Cross. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN PLAYWRIGHT’S FESTIVAL : 18-20 MARCH 2022


For a wonderfully hilarious escape to the world of vampires, ghosts, mummies and werewolves, set of course, in a stately manor on the moors, you can’t go past Castle Hill Players present production of The Mystery of Irma Vep – A Penny Dreadful by Charles Ludlam.

Two very talented actors, Paul Sztelma and Richard Littlehales, play several different male & female characters whose transformation is accomplished with remarkably quick and hysterical changes of costumes.

As befits a melodrama and farce the first act takes place at Mandacrest Manor, the ancestral home of Lord Edgar, an Egyptologist, and Lady Enid, a former actress and his second wife. He cannot get over the death of his first wife, Irma Vep, who died rather mysteriously and whose glaring portrait dominates the manor’s living room. The staff, maid/housekeeper Jane Twisden and outside man Nicodemus Underwood, manage to keep the estate running while harbouring deep secrets of their own.

As strange things begin to happen Lord Edgar decides to travel to Egypt and the play begins to take on many more twists and turns and things start to get out of hand. If the plot seems to become convoluted, don’t worry just go along with the flow enjoying each new revelation and all be resolved in the end.

Director Meredith Jacobs and her creative team have fine-tuned everything, particularly the costume changes, to present a very polished and highly entertaining production. Trevor Chaise’s set created a beautiful looking Victorian room in a Manor House with sufficient doors to allow appropriate exists and entrances. Then in act 2 we are off to visit an Egyptian tomb where even the stage hands are involved in some clever blocking.

The dressing and props were in the very capable hands of stage manager Denise Winters. Lighting design by James Winters and sound design by Bernard Teuben bring the whole thing to life and Annette Snars costume design draws continual laughter from the audience.

Make sure you get yourself tickets to this excellent production which highlights the talent and commitment of all involved. Playing until April 9 at Pavilion Theatre Doran Drive Castle Hill Showground.


Bad Machine at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Pic Cassandra Hannagan

Last Friday I had the opportunity to appreciate and enjoy the play BAD MACHINE written by Brooke Robinson and directed by Lily Balatincz.

A mobile scenery that adapts very well to the different locations that the work transmits to us, an excellent audio-visual composition projected on stage creating a unique environment for the viewer.

The play begins with a dialogue between two law students discussing politics, the system of government and that they are both on a scholarship, one of them sponsored by Centrelink’s Austudy.

As the play progresses, we see Abbie Lee Lewis playing the role of Eve and Lily Balatincz replacing Rob Johnson in the role of Oliver. it was very well done. Unfortunately, Rob was unable to be in the play that day due to illness and director Lily Balatincz stepped in to play the role of Olivia.

Gail Knight as May and George Spartels as Theo were a central point in the work, their characterizations were so successful that the viewer was left waiting for the story from beginning to end.

With the versatility the actors were creating environments where the stories were produced. I was really fascinated by the staging. It is a very well achieved teamwork where you first feel a good direction, lighting/Video Designer and Sound Designer/Composers that helped in an extraordinary way to work.

BAD MACHINE contains 21 scenes showing that some of the most vulnerable members of society were affected using artificial intelligence through an automated auditing system with devastating results. Described as ‘extortion’ by the highest member of the Australian government’s court of review, the program issued more than 400,000 computer-generated debt notices demanding payment from Centrelink users, many of whom did not owe the government any money.

BAD MACHINE prompts audiences to question the idea of ​​blame, the standards we set for our leaders, and what’s at stake when we give up compassion.

The play has been commissioned by Campbelltown Art Centre and co-presented by Campbelltown Arts Centre and Casula Power Arts Centre with the following cast:

BAD MACHINE played the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre on the 18th and 19th March 2022.



Melissa Gatt, Kaori Gan, Kaori Maeda -Judge and Manali Datar in. Sydney Theatre Company’s White Pearl at the Wharf Theatre. Pic Phil Erbacher. 

The setting is Singapore. The story is universal. It could be set anywhere as WHITE PEARL explores racism, corporate culture and hypocrisy. Loaded with humour, conflict, tension and some touching moments, this modern play is fine writing.

Young Asian women start a cosmetic company. They are an Indian-Singaporean who uses her British education as a weapon, a Chinese woman who fears for her life if she returns to China, a Japanese woman escaping a toxic workplace, a whacky Thai, a Thai-American and a South Korean chemist responsible for the safety of their key product, which is a skin whitening cream. Imagine the cultural identity crisis, the safety concerns, the potential marketing disasters! The company bases its beauty product on the belief that all women hate the way they look. Therein lies the joke when one of them asks ‘How white can you be?’ Sales sky rocket. They are a united team, thrilled with their success, until an unauthorised racist advertisement for their cream is hacked and goes viral. Who will be the scapegoat? Who becomes the Machiavellian? Who protects the vulnerable?  Continue reading WHITE PEARL : FUN, INTELLIGENT CONTEMPORARY THEATRE


For the last twenty-one years, with over 1700 performances including regional touring around Australia, every year THE WHARF REVIEW provides incredible sketch comedy and witty sketch musical theatre. This year the show is called “THE WHARF REVIEW – CAN OF WORMS” always satirical, always merriment galore, and with very political parodies, meet your favourite politicians as they are often seen to be.


Including USA PRESIDENT Donald John Trump, Gladys Berejiklian, Dominic Perrottet, Kevin Rudd, Barnaby Joyce, Pauline Hanson, Jacqui Lambie, Jacinda Ardern and many many more. Always fresh and topical, the current show now includes a timely reference to LISMORE.     Continue reading THE WHARF REVIEW – CAN OF WORMS @ RIVERSIDE THEATRES PARRAMATTA




Katherine Brisbane Helpmann Awards 2012 Photo James Morgan_3692


To celebrate its recent 50th birthday, Currency Press, Australia’s foremost publisher of the performing arts, is conveningthe Australian Playwrights’ Festival. Showcasing our playwrights and the roles they have played in reflecting our society and defining who we are, the festival will be held from 18-20 March 2022 at the Paddington RSL.

 Over three days, the program includes sessions on Writing Taboos, Black Theatre Matters, You Can’t Write That (writing other people’s stories), Talking With History, and the place of Comedy and the Politics of Satire.

The Keynote Address will be given by esteemed playwright Patricia Cornelius, and the Festival will culminate with a tribute to publisher Katharine Brisbane and playwright Alma De Groen. Festival panellists will include Vanessa Bates, Hilary Bell, Jonathan Biggins, Andrew Bovell, Wesley Enoch, Andrea James, Nakkiah Lui, Nathan Maynard, Joanna Murray-Smith, Debra Oswald, Lachlan Philpott, Stephen Sewell, S. Shakthidharan, Katherine Thomson, Alana Valentine and David Williamson. Continue reading CURRENCY CELEBRATES 50 YEARS WITH PLAYWRIGHT’S FESTIVAL