Tag Archives: James Browne


This delightful Green Room Award winning operatic version of Oscar Wilde’s story first premiered in 2019.It has just completed a short season at the Playhouse of the Melbourne Arts Centre and was also available online.

Directed by Cameron Menzies ,Wilde’s story has been slightly changed, but it is still a story about how the Giant changes from gruff melancholy and bitterness, to acceptance, change and growth while also making observations about selfishness , integrity and position in society  .

The opera has an arresting score by Simon Bruckard and a great libretto by Emma Muir-Smith that combine to moving tell Wilde’s allegorical tale.We follow the story of the giant (Stephen Marsh) as he returns from a long visit to find his garden inhabited by boisterous , noisy children playing . Marred by his childhood, and wanting the garden all to himself, the giant startles the children away and installs a large sign No Children Allowed. The next day (Lucy Scneider) arrives with her fairies (Eliza Bennetts and Miriam Whiting- Reilly) to make the garden bloom and grow, in a delightful, rippling, bubbling trio, but something is awry. Continue reading VICTORIAN OPERA’S THE SELFISH GIANT



From 5th to 14th November, Riverside’s National Theatre of Parramatta will return to the stage to present ‘The Things I Could Never Tell Steven’.

The production is directed by Anthea Williams (Flight Paths, Winyanboga Yurringa Since Ali Died) and written by Jye Bryant (Captain Moonlite, Sempre Libera, The Velveteen Rabbit) a prime example of western sydney talent, and leader of a new generation of Australian music theatre.

‘Bringing ‘The Things I Could Never Tell Steven’ to life is celebrated actress and music theatre star, best known for her portrayal of Glinda in the original West End production of Wicked, Helen Dallimore, powerhouse vocalist and actor Adam J Rennie (The Rocky Horror Show, Big Fish, Love Never Dies), award-winning vocal sensation Elenoa Rokobaro (High School Musical, Hairspray, Legally Blonde) and two-time Green Room Award winner Ian Stenlake (Mama Mia, They’re playing our song, Oklahoma) with music Director Ben Kiehne. Continue reading NATIONAL THEATRE OF PARRAMATTA PRESENTS ‘THE THINGS I COULD NEVER TELL STEVEN’

Diving For Pearls @ Griffin Theatre Company

Production photography by Brett Boardman

“Never in my life has the right thing happened at the right time.”

Katherine Thomson’s iconic Australian play is revived by director Darren Yap at the Griffin Theatre Company for their 2017 season. Set in Wollongong, Diving for Pearls inspects the economic rationalism of the late ‘80s and the effect political decisions of the era had on opportunity and income for the working class, still impacting some today.

Ursula Yovich is brilliant as Barbara, a woman going through a rough patch who despite this, is eager to learn and immerse herself in the new job market while approaching 40. Steve Rodgers is the gentle Den, a steel work labourer adjusting to the new demands of the times. Together they compliment each other’s opposing personalities and form a wonderful (and at times comic) dynamic on stage. The range of passion Barbara and Den exude for one another reaches an ugly dramatic climax in Act 2, contrasting their affection during the first Act. Ebony Vagulans is another stand-out as Barbara’s intellectually disabled daughter Verge, who moves in to live with Barbara and Den, much to their surprise. Michelle Doake is the hilariously uptight Marj, sister of Barbara with an accent attempting to allude to higher status, particularly compared to the working class status of the other characters. Jack Finsterer is the serious Ron, Den’s brother-in-law and industrial consultant.

Griffin is well known for having a small stage, and the use of space was innovative. Set and costume designer James Browne had wonderful attention to detail, leaving no part of the stage unused. From small model houses lining the industrial pipes and dresser, to the grassy knoll that could then be flipped-up into the underground industrial areas of the town was a great transition from the natural to man-made modern world.

While having the ability to find humour in the often dark parts of the story, director Darren Yap reflects, “In the end, the hard thing this play says to me is: if you don’t change you will be changed.” Certainly Diving For Pearls is a comment on the ever-evolving world we live in, from the changing job market to the increasing over-reliance on technology. Our work is to adapt. Yapp believes we should “remember and cherish the past, but don’t live in it. We have to move forward. As I get older, I find that a harsh reality.” And perhaps this is the harsh reality of all the characters within Diving For Pearls. Life goes on for better or worse.

Diving For Pearls is on at Griffin Theatre Company from the 15th September – 28th October at 7pm Monday – Friday with additional 2pm shows on Saturdays and Tuesday 24th October.

Judith’s Best Sets For 2014

The cast of The God Of Hell
The cast of The God Of Hell

THE GOD OF HELL- great raised set in a tiny theatre- Designer Rodney Fisher. Playwright Sam Shepard. Producer- Mophead Productions. Venue- The Old Fitzroy Theatre

This was a cracker set.  Traditional flats used to create the vestibule, boot room and kitchen of a farmhouse.  Unusually, a raised stage was used in this venue and this took the tops of the flats close to the rafters with no tormentor.  This really added to the rural, barn effect as did the rustic floorboards. Continue reading Judith’s Best Sets For 2014


Nat Jobe (Bungo), Jeff Teale (Shaun) and Andrew James (Ratso) in PETE THE SHEEP. Pic Heidrun Lohr
Nat Jobe (Bungo), Jeff Teale (Shaun) and Andrew James (Ratso) in PETE THE SHEEP. Pic Heidrun Lohr

Petting zoos be blowed! Sydney kids will be more the ants’ pants after this encounter with sheep, dogs and shearers, courtesy of Monkey Baa (Baa, Baa..) This theatre event is high on production value, performance skill and chockers with creative success.

The rural Aussie tale of a shearer turned animal salon owner comes from the book by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley. It entertains in its slick new format as a new local musical jam-packed with current references. Much laughter and applause are fleeced from both the target age group and beyond.

Continue reading PETE THE SHEEP