Tag Archives: Simon Lee

A DEAL by ZHU YI @ Chippen Street Theatre

The University of Sydney Union (USU) and Flying House Assembly present the Australian debut of A DEAL by ZHI YI China’s leading female playwright and directed by Shiya Lu.

This is a very fast-paced entertainingly fresh new take on immigration and the culture clash and the unresolved conflict between parents and daughter, and is a crystal clear reflection of a child who wants to be famous and achieve her prominent place on stage in the New World. Her burning all her bridges by fully denigrating her homeland, and her parents and and her government. Becoming an activist refugee, a press-hungry dissident apparently ready to be snatched of the street, and become another victim of extraordinary rendition and its controversial interrogation/torture techniques, whilst held at a black site without trial in a Laogai detention camp (Chinese equivalent of the Soviet Gulag).

Continue reading A DEAL by ZHU YI @ Chippen Street Theatre


Broadway Bound is a semi-autobiographical play by the late great American Jewish playwright Neil Simon. It is the last chapter in his Eugene trilogy, following Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues.

I am  very partial to this kind of autobiographical play because of its structure. By this I mean that the play had a main character narrator who gives us a greater insight into the characters which I find particularly satisfying. It is a complex thing to do but Simon carries it out triumphantly. It creates a feeling of intimacy that draws you irresistibly closer to the play’s heartbeat.

The play works by way of a narrator who is Eugene, the Neil Simon character. He shares us with us the dramatic goings on within his family. The play starts with the time that Eugene and his brother Stanley are starting to make inroads in their writing careers, writing skits for CBS radio.

There are so many good moments. The interactions between mother and son especially the closing scenes…the moment when Kate polishes her beloved dining room table which the play ends on…

The interplay between the two brothers as they work on their comedy script to submit to CBS radio effectively conveys to the audience their rising level of excitement which is quite infectious.

The play was well directed by Rosane McNamara. Her love of the play shone through, infusing her enthusiasm into the lively performances of the actors.

The consistency and quality of the New York accents enunciated by the actors gave this play an authenticity which transported one to a working class suburb in New York in the late 40’s after his left the Army(Biloxi Blues was set in his army days).

Patrick Holman gave a well judged, very engaging performance in the main role of Eugene (the Neil Simon character).

Simon Lee gave a really energy charged performance as Eugene’s enterprising brother, Stanley.

Suzann James was very convincing as Kate, a typical conservative, over protective jewish mother.

Brett Heath gave a very sound performance as the boys father, Jack Jerome. Jack’s marriage to Kate is on the rocks and the boys can sense trouble ahead. Heath also played the role of a radio host.

Les Asmussen plays the boys warm hearted, socialist grandfather, Ben Epstein who plays a big part in their lives.

Susan Jordan plays Ben’s sister, Blanche, who tries to convince Ben to join his wife in the sunshine of Florida. Blanche has married into wealth and is in a position to help her brother out. Susan also plays the role of mrs Pitkin and a radio host.

Nick Curnow and Jesse Shore played voice parts (from the CBS radio program coming out of a vintage old radio) and weren’t seen on stage. 

A lovely set was designed by Allan Walpole featuring a family living room where most of the action takes place and then behind the family room are the boys two bedrooms. Further back is a little hallway leading to the bedrooms of the mother and grandfather.

If you want a rewarding night’s entertainment make sure that you are Newtown bound. BROADWAY BOUND is playing the New Theatre 542 King Street, Newtown until 15 December 2018.




pic no 2 rope boat

Pictured above- Refugees in a boat- Forever Tupou, Henriette Tkalec, Che Baines, Shane Millward and Simon Lee. Featured photo- Forever Tupou, Tiffany Hoy, Henriette Tkalec and Jepke Goudsmit. Production photography by Saha Jones.

For decades, the Kinetic Energy Theatre Company has been unerringly committed to championing the woes of the underdog,– the confused, accused and misused.

None so more than their current production, REFUGE.  With the depiction of asylum seekers and detainees as mere statistics and nameless numbers, we can forget that they are also fellow human beings, most of whom have endured great suffering without any criminal convictions.  REFUGE aims to undo the demonisation.

REFUGE has five story lines, all true stories based on facts and eyewitness reports and on research and practical fieldwork carried out in Sydney with the Villawood Detention Centre and the Somali Women’s Association. Continue reading KINETIC ENERGY PRESENTS REFUGE @ ST LUKE’S HALL ENMORE







The Factory Space Theatre Company is currently presenting THE MATILDA WALTZ, written and directed by Deborah Mulhall. The play premiered in a very abbreviated form at the Sydney Fringe Festival in September 2014.

The play spans 100 years of Australian history through the eyes of five generations of Australian women, each woman being the daughter of the woman before.

THE MATILDA WALTZ begins in Sydney in 1894, where we meet siblings Vera and Ida Templeton, their lawyer Mr. Andrew (Banjo) Paterson and the charming rogue, Horrie. We follow the Templeton family tree, through the First World War and the Second World War and onto the Vietnam War. We visit France, New York, Sydney, Queensland and outback NSW with clever locations changes, made with the change of a street sign. Continue reading MATILDA WALTZ @ STAR OF THE SEA THEATRE


Who-8 (1)

The Sydney premiere of this originally Tasmanian play went off with a bang and was hugely enjoyable, cast and audience having a delightful time. Whovians can spend hours gleefully noting all the Doctor Who allusions and in-jokes – the play is littered with them.

Director Kyle Stephens and his small cast have done a sterling job in bringing this fun play to life. The script is very cleverly written and in some ways structured like a two part story from the early years of the Doctor. There is a major cliffhanger at interval .

Originally premiered in 2009, McIntyre set himself the task of using a quote from every single Doctor Who story and it is great fun. The play has several NSW and local references, – it would be interesting to compare with the Canadian version that has just been completed.

Continue reading WHO KNOWS