Posts Tagged ‘Ian Mackellar


7 Sleeps… The Noosa Long Weekend Festival Countdown is on!

The 12th annual Noosa Long Weekend is just 7 sleeps away!


Bobby Fox Jersey Boys Australia

Now in its 12th year, the Noosa Long Weekend Festival takes place in various venues across Noosa with 85+ free and ticketed events on offer featuring a host of international, national and local guests.  The multi-arts genre program includes literature, music, cabaret, theatre, dance, forums, comedy and supper clubs, food, workshops and free events.


Festival Director, Ian Mackellar said that whilst some events were sold out, tickets remained available for the majority of events with local resorts, hotels and apartments offering great accommodation deals to festival patrons.

“The beauty of our festival is the quality, accessibility and affordability of it all. With 10,000 tickets on offer there is still the opportunity for audiences to come and enjoy a Long Weekend experience.
“A few tickets remain for our sensational opening night and Saturday performances of 4 Seasons in 1 Night with Bobby Fox of  Jersey Boys Australia and Hot Shoe Shuffle fame.  It’s the Queensland premiere of Bobby’s new show and will be something really special for audiences.


Meow Meow The Cat That Got the Canary 2008

“We pride ourselves on being ‘first’ for a number of events, so other Queensland premieres include the wildly entertaining Tom Sharah with his contemporary cabaret show It’s Raining Me as part of a double bill show with Sarah-Louise Young and Julie Madly Deeply; the super talented David Pomeranz from New York with his poignant tribute to the life of Charlie Chaplin in his show ChaplinMeow Meow’s self titled kamikaze cabaret show; Bernadette Robinson’s Evening With concert featuring songs from her favourite singers and songwriters; Robyn Archer’s French cabaret show ‘Que-Reste-t’il’David Williamson’s new play, Happiness as performed by Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre Company  and finally the Australian Cabaret Showcase performance with Bradley McCaw and Amelia Ryan.


Ian said that the festival’s literary program had some “big names” coming to town with Ramona Koval, David MaloufMichael Leunig and Matt Condon visiting as part of the 13 total authors featured in the program.


Brisbane’s Expressions Dance Company will present two contemporary dance pieces at the festival and the serious side of life will be explored through a range of forums exploring topics as varied as clean energy, refugees, women in power, near death experiences, what China thinks of Australia and more.

Rumour Has It Naomi Price. Image by Dylan Evans. 

If it all gets too serious however, the perfect antidote for audiences will be the inaugural Comedy Club or festival favourites such as food events, late-night supper clubs and workshops.


“The Noosa Long Weekend Festival is a truly unique and special event, Ian said.

“Our audiences come from all over Australia to enjoy a diverse and world class program which is presented in a range of intimate Noosa venues.
“It’s up close and personal, inspiring and entertaining – everything a festival should be.”


To secure your tickets:



  • Phone – The J (07) 5455 4455


  • In person – The J Box Office



The 10th Annual Australian Showcase…in Noosa!




cabaret showcase



For the first time a heat will be held in Queensland for

The 10th Annual Australian Cabaret Showcase.


Jim Berardo’s sophisticated restaurant and bar on Hastings Street in Noosa, is the fine dining venue for the event, which has been sold out since the announcement of the heat! The Noosa crowd don’t miss much!

Your Enterprises’ Jeremy Youett has teamed up with local entertainment master mind, Manager of the Noosa Longweekend, Ian MacKellar, and Jim Berardo to create a one-of-a-kind cabaret evening.

The nine Sunshine Coast entrants include the dazzling Rachael Ward, fresh from her starring role in Chicago on board the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas and Adam Flower, who’s been laying low but whom you may remember from our production of Jesus Christ Superstar, which we staged in a warehouse in Kawana in 1999 and broke all Sunshine Coast box office records with Adam in the title role. It’s great to see him back on the circuit. IT WAS TIME.

Rachael Ward Chicago Allure of the Seas

With well-known local piano man, Simon Russell-Baker on the keys, and a dinner menu to make your mouth water, this is an exquisite night of entertainment that most of us will miss this time. And I would have told you about it earlier but there has been SO MUCH HAPPENING. That’s right. Real life has had to take precedence. There will be intermittent posts right up until late January, when we’ll LAUNCH THE WEBSITE. I KNOW.

It’s been a long time coming.

I’ll try to blog from Woodfordia (come see us at The Mystery Bus!), and if you don’t want to miss anything in the meantime



If you managed to secure a ticket to the 10th Annual Australian Cabaret Showcase in Noosa, enjoy a sophisticated and entertaining evening, hosted by Sam Coward and featuring some of our best new (and returning) talent!

Jeremy Youett Blueprint Studios

Jeremy Youett. Image by Blueprint Studios.

“Despite the challenges of continuing to produce the event when I’m based overseas, the Showcase is something I continue to develop because I strongly believe in it as a platform for developing and supporting Australian talent and the art form… I’m excited to say that we have just confirmed that we will launch heats in Adelaide for the first time in 2013 for the 11th Annual Showcase, with the support of The Adelaide Cabaret Festival and Artistic Director Kate Ceberano.”

Jeremy Youett, Producer of the Australian Annual Cabaret Showcase and General Manager of the New York Musical Theatre Festival

Winner of last year’s comp, Angela Harding, will perform her original cabaret show Just Like You…Only Different (MD Mark Chamberlain) on Friday 21st December at El Rocco’s (Bar Me) in Sydney


The Fantasticks

The Fantasticks

Noosa Arts Theatre

September 20th – October 6th 2012


“Teaching the world about youthful love…”


Away from the flashy expense and soullessness of the blockbuster musicals (that we love!), is the world’s longest running musical. I’m fascinated by this show’s history and intrigued by the fact that no one I spoke to about The Fantasticks, when Noosa Arts Theatre announced its inclusion in their 2012 season, knew much – if anything – about this beautiful little show.

So by all means, skip straight to my review, below, or bear with me while I share a brief history, from on the inception and long-term success of The Fantasticks.

In the early 1950’s Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones were students at the University of Texas. During their senior year in 1955, they became so enchanted with the works of French playwright, Edmond Rostand, which they read and re-read his three most famous plays and then began to search for others. From Rostand’s biography, Schmidt and Jones learned of another play – the first ever written by Rostand when he was 26 years old in 1894. Finding no copies anywhere of the mentioned play, they sent to a rare-book dealer in Paris, who unearthed a copy in French. Their one single impulse was to turn this tender little tale into a modern musical.

After graduation, Schmidt and Jones descended upon New York and began writing material for little musical reviews and nightclub entertainers. They didn’t get around to fulfilling their college dream until 1959, when The Fantasticks had a tryout at Barnard College to an enthusiastic audience. A few months later the show was produced in New York and the rest is history.

The Fantasticks tells a simple tale of “a boy, girl, two fathers and a wall.” Using theatrical techniques from many parts of the world and many periods in history, it urges the audience to use their imagination, to follow the narrator, El Gallo, as he creates for us a world of moonlight and magic, and later of honky-tonk carnivals and burning disillusion.

The Fantasticks, as LIFE magazine once said, is “a sophisticated story about innocence.”

The Review…

The Fantasticks premiered at The Sullivan Theatre on May 3rd 1960 and ran for 17 162 performances before closing in January 2002. The current revival at The Snapple Theatre (renamed the Jerry Orbach Theatre) is directed by the show’s playwright and lyricist, Tom Jones and stars pop sensation, Aaron Carter, in the role of Matt.

Ian Mackellar played Matt in a production some years ago and the show has always held a special place in his heart. (The Fantasticks seems to have this effect on those involved in it!). This time Mackellar directs – very precisely – and plays Luisa’s father. Mackellar stepped into this role just a few weeks ago, to team up with John Woodlock, who plays Matt’s father. Together these gentlemen very nearly steal the show. Their final duet particularly, is one to look forward to.

John Woodlock & Ian Mackellar The Fantasticks

As Director, Mackellar has done a stellar job. He imbues The Fantasticks with all the love he has for this show and for musical theatre and storytelling. The storytelling is key. We are asked at the outset to indulge the players and put our imaginations to good use. It sounds like a big call and it is. If it were not for the ingeniously (deceptively) simple staging and the deft efficiency of Carly Partridge as The Mute, it would be an almost impossible ask. Partridge magically procures props and costumes from out of nowhere at the precise moment each is needed. She establishes her quiet authority and maintains an air of all-knowing, all-seeing puppet master (but who is pulling her strings?). She is omnipresent and she knows the show back to front and inside out; very little would happen without her.

Sam Coward is a wonderful El Gallo. And I’m not even biased. In fact, I’m probably his biggest critic. In this role, Coward is in fine voice and takes seriously his responsibility to invoke our imaginations from the outset. He finds just the right amount of sensitivity and swashbuckling, mischievous charm to woo and slightly terrify. His rendition of Try to Remember gently draws us in before he hints at any of the horrors of the world. His duet with Matt (He Can See It) is disturbing and loathsome in its foreboding, prophetic nature. The latter is a highlight that comes in stark contrast to the opening number, another highlight, which is suitably warm, welcoming, and full of the promise of life (and a good story to boot!).

You would think that living with the man would have proffered some production clues, gossip, something, anything…but no; I took our six year old daughter, Poppy, to see the opening night performance having heard Try to Remember sung in the shower just once or twice and I guess from the bathroom renditions we were both expecting great things. Happily, no one was disappointed and in fact the common cry over Chandon after the show was, “Why do we not hear this voice more often?” and “Why is this man not on stage more often?” (I said the same thing about Mackellar.)… Coward has focused on directing and producing for a little while, as you would know if you’ve been following this blog; this is his first role onstage since SRT’s Short+Sweet winner, So, Where Is It? Perhaps we’ll see him in a musical again sometime soon since he’s suddenly remembered he can sing.

Sam Coward & Rachel Halverson The Fantasticks

This is Sam’s glare because I’ve overshared.

We knew Stephen Moore would present hilariously and along with his sidekick, the silent Mortimer, played by newcomer Mal Farvar, he provides a lot of the comic relief.

The young lovers each reveal some good character work and a subtlety that Mackellar told me was honed during rehearsals as they imagined they were acting for camera. As Luisa, Rachel Halverson is sweet, naïve and thrust into love and confusion. She can afford to sing out a little more with such a beautiful, natural voice, reminding me of Sweeney Todd’s Johanna. The keyboards (one a keyboard, one a keyboard masquerading as a harp) could also do with a fuller sound or simply slightly more volume. Without overpowering the voices, as so often happens – still – in community theatre venues, it might help the younger singers. Callum Hamacek is love-struck and brave and foolish (and humbly forlorn and defeated) as Matt. They are delightful, completely convincing, establishing a beautiful connection early in the piece, which helps us go with them on their journey. The couple’s final duet is simple and quite simply, captivating.

The Fantasticks is a rather old-fashioned, whimsical musical yet it manages to retain its relevance and is very much to be enjoyed by the whole family. On opening night it ran at a languid pace, however; I’ve been told it has since picked up and audiences of all ages have delighted in the opening weekend.

The paragraph that doesn’t fit…

In The Fantasticks El Gallo is employed to “rape” Luisa and it is explained, painstakingly, that this simply means he will pretend to abduct her. ie. he will stage a kidnapping.

I have to discuss this. It’s played heavily on my mind since seeing the show. Rape. Rape. RAPE. What does that word mean to you? Does it imply abduction without sexual contact? No. It does not. Not anymore. The very sound of the word – go on, say it out loud – implies violence, aggression, gross abuse of power against a person and grave injustice. Why? Because that is how we have come to know the word. It’s the word we have used often enough for long enough now to describe the act of sexual violence and disempowerment over one person by another. Call a rape an abduction and it does not smell sweeter. The archaic definition is the one that is used in the show and though it is explained in the scene, it doesn’t seem to me to be an acceptable inclusion these days. How do the schools deal? Do they cut the scene and later replace the word “rape” for “abduction” or another? I watched audience members squirming and audience members trying not to be seen squirming during this scene because, after all, regardless of what they were feeling, hadn’t the term just been contexualised by El Gallo? (Who would dare to question El Gallo?)!

Luckily, the scene occurs early enough for some to forget it entirely but for those who don’t, for those who think on it later, it’s a tricky issue. What would you do?



1.   the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.

 2.   any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.

 3.   statutory rape.

 4.   an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation: the rape of the countryside.

 5.   Archaic . the act of seizing and carrying off by force.

verb (used with object

6.   to force to have sexual intercourse.

 7.   to plunder (a place); despoil.

 8.   to seize, take, or carry off by force.

verb (used without object)

9. to commit rape.


1250–1300;  (v.) Middle English rapen  < Anglo-French raper  < Latin rapere  to seize, carry off by force, plunder; (noun) Middle English  < Anglo-French ra ( a ) p ( e ), derivative of raper

Now, after that note, you may have second thoughts about taking the children but I say take them and discuss. Children, just as adults do, take in what they take in and leave with their own thoughts, feelings and unique responses to what they’ve seen. What is theatre if it’s not for challenging us, urging us to re-think long-held beliefs and core community values? And what is its worth if we can’t update it to make it relevant and tell our age-old stories in entirely new ways if necessary, in order to reach entirely new audiences? This is an age-old tale told very simply and it requires a simple rewrite.

The Fantasticks contains darker moments because life contains darker moments. G.K Chesterton said that fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed. With so much of the English language undergoing similar change, I think it far better to discuss the issue, contexualising it each time something comes up.

Try to Remember, regardless of how we respond to the rape/abduction notion, this is the world’s longest running musical! Of course it should continue to be seen and enjoyed.

The update/note…

After the Sunday matinee, Director, Ian Mackellar, decided to change the word “rape” to “raid”, having received enough feedback from cast members and audience about its contextualisation, to reconsider the inclusion of the word. He felt the word was not being accepted for the reasons discussed above. So now you can happily take the kids and know that there is one less worldly issue to discuss (don’t put off that conversation for too long though!).


The Fantasticks

The Fantasticks

Noosa Arts Theatre

September 20th – October 6th

Reviewed by Joe Jurisevic

It’s easy to be drawn in to the theatre by large scale spectaculars staged at major entertainment venues. Bright lights, multi piece orchestras, awesome sets and stagecraft that wow the eye and  a costume budget in the tens or hundreds of thousands. But with it comes large crowds, nose bleed seats and the need for binoculars just to get a glimpse of the action on stage.

Grand productions of The Fantasticks have been presented over the years, and simply have not worked. Perhaps that is the secret to why “The beauty of the Fantasticks is in the sheer simplicity under which it is presented… MINIMAL set, lighting and a cast of just 8 people. The live musical orchestrations are also simple, a piano and a harp. The Fantasticks was written to be performed in intimate surroundings, encouraging audiences to fill in the spaces by creating their own imagery using their imagination.” That may explain the appeal of a the World’s Longest Running Musical, which has been performed off-Broadway with only a small break in productions since 1960.

I first saw The Fantasticks in exactly that setting – Brisbane Arts theatre in 1995. I was immediately drawn in by the intimate atmosphere of this compact venue. And so it is with Ian Mackellar’s production currently showing at Noosa Arts Theatre. The intimacy of the space makes it the perfect venue to see this well cast production that deserves an audience.

It is a shame that even many theatre going regulars are unfamiliar with this show, but from the opening number audiences will not need Try to Remember too hard to find a familiarity that they will be drawn to. The story is a simple love story of neighbouring boy and girl whose love knows no bounds. Kept apart (or is that drawn together by their fathers?), their love blossoms in the romantic moonlight. But what happens when the moonlight fades and we are left to review in the cold light of day? That is where The Fantasticks will keep you spellbound.

McKellar’s production is true to the simplicity that is the feature of this musical. Sam Coward as the Narrator and El Gallo treats us a mix of vocals and comedy that makes one ask why we don’t see more of him on stage these days. Rachel Halverson and Callum Hamacek connect and captivate as the young lovers, with Rachel’s vocals a highlight. Ian Mackellar and John Woodlock compliment each other perfectly as the father’s of the children. Stephen Moore’s comic genius is a highlight until the very end and is well supported by new comer to Noosa Arts’ stage in Mal Favager. Carly Partridge’s role as the mute is, some may quip, possibly her most challenging, in a role that cleverly manages the stagecraft of the production.

The Fantasticks is a refreshing piece of musical theatre and comedy that audiences will readily warm to and will enjoyed by all ages. My 12 year old son loved it. Ideal family entertainment over the coming holidays or just a great fun night out.

Charity Fundraising night for Katie Rose Cottage

September 27th at 7.30pm


Book online or call (07) 5449 9343


The Fantasticks

Stephen Moore, Carly Partridge, Rachel Halverson





The Noosa Longweekend Launch

The Noosa Longweekend 2011

Program Launch

The J Theatre, Noosa

Tuesday 3rd May

I am so often in Noosa, I think I might as well move there. If not permanently, then I should definitely move into Outrigger or Netanya, or one of the other amazing accommodation options on offer over the 10 fabulous days of The Noosa Longweekend from June 17th until June 26th.

The Noosa Longweekend this year celebrates its tenth anniversary and 40 years of David Williamson’s pre-eminence as a playwright in this country. He is our most successful playwright and a National Treasure. What’s more, he is a Noosa Treasure.  As such, in true celebratory style,  Richard Fidler will host a tribute dinner, which will take the form of a satirical Celebrity Roast, with special guests, including director, Bruce Beresford and Williamson’s sons, Rory and Felix, who are invited to “tell all” about their association with Williamson (Saturday June 25th). I’ve always been a Williamson fan and having recently finished up an inspired production of his highest grossing play, Influence, as well as having worked with some of Australia’s best loved actors in a special charity performance of Emerald City for The Corrilee Foundation and The Noosa Longweekend earlier this year, I was excited to see what David would bring next, to Noosa’s table.

At Any Cost? penned by Williamson and Mohamed Khadra is a stark look at quality of life versus medically assisted prolonged life. This play has it all – family conflict, dark humour and devastating family secrets – and will preview, prior to its World Premiere, on Tuesday June 21st & Wednesday June 22nd. At Any Cost? comes to us from Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre, directed by Sandra Bates and starring Martin Vaughan, Tyler Coppin, Tracy Mann, Danny Mitchell and Kate Raison.

The other major theatrical piece coming to the coast for the Longweekend is Oscar Theatre Company’s [title of show], a fantastic production, directed by Emily Gilhome, which I saw at The Powerhouse last year. A return Brisbane season and inclusion in the Noosa Longweekend program this year means this hot little company is beginning to be noticed!

The stalwart theatrical event of the Longweekend is the One Act Play Festival. For 30 years, Noosa Arts Theatre has proudly fostered playwriting and each year, we see the finalists from the National One-Act Playwriting Competition. This year, the finalists are Star Crossed, a drama by Jenny Bullimore from Victoria, Nothing, a comedy by Mark Langham from NSW and The Knock on the Door, a drama by Bruce Olive, from Queensland (Friday June 17th & Saturday June 18th).

Direct from the UK, in 2 exclusive Queensland performances (including the opening night VIP Soiree) The Magnets will wow Noosa Longweekend audiences with a new show, Gobsmacked! This sexy group of gorgeous guys is touted as the best a capella group on the planet and having seen their showreel, I don’t doubt it. The VIP tickets to this show include the entry to the post show Soiree.

Cabaret weighs heavily in this year’s program and I’m not complaining. Parisian cabaret star, Caroline Nin, back by popular demand after sell-out shows in 2010, presents for just one sensational performance, her homage to Piaf (Monday June 20th). Toby Francis, winner of the 8th Annual Cabaret Showcase, presents his new one-man show, Blokelahoma! (Wednesday June 22nd). Another one-night-only cabaret event, Mitchell Butel and Marika Aubrey will each bring to the same stage, their original shows, Killing Time (Butel) and Redheads (Aubrey). Butel gave us a hint of things to come, performing for the media and invited guests at the launch, the classic Johnny O’Keefe number, Save the Last Dance For Me. Butel’s second show, a Supper Club cabaret show titled Excellent Adventures, promises “the cabaret ride of your life.”

The Supper Club concept has become, not surprisingly, a bit of an institution and if you manage to secure tickets to any of these exclusive events, you are in for a very special evening. As well as Butel’s show (Friday June 24th) there are those by Avigail Herman (Tuesday June 21st), Sheridan Harbridge (Wednesday June 22nd) and Steve Ross (Thursday June 23rd). Thanks to some bold, young producers and the foresight of the Noosa Longweekend committee, we are once again, able to enjoy the crème de la crème of national and international cabaret acts in the intimate setting of berado’s restaurant and bar.

A Festival highlight will be the 4 hours of non-stop music, food and fun on Sunday June 26th at the Outrigger Resort. Sunshine Coast band, The Things That Swing lead a fabulous line up of special guests, including Butel, Harbridge, Aubrey and Stephanie Brownlee, Katie Noonan & Karin Schaup, as well as local vocal talents, Andrew Lawson and Kelsey Rimmer. Stephanie Brownlee will also appear with Melburnian five-piece party band, Skipping Girl Vinegar, on Saturday June 25th.

Classical enthusiasts will not be disappointed, with the return of Yayoi Negishi, together with Yasuhiro Saruta performing L’ail Kreis, a “duo of two pianos” with works by Johann Strauss II, Tchaikovsky and Rossini (Friday June 24th) and an appearance by the incomparable Katie Noonan with internationally renowned guitarist, Karin Schaupp on Saturday June 25th. Noosa Chorale and The Noosa Sinfonia are joined on Sunday June 26th by soloists, Gaynor Morgan and Patrick Donnelly for their presentation of Brahms German Requiem and Brahms Double Concerto, featuring Rachel Smith (Principal First Violin) and Louise King (Cellist). Queensland National Dance Company re-tells the greatest love tragedy ever told, Romeo and Juliet for one performance only on Sunday June 19th.

The film and literary components of the program are superb and include the likes of Brendan Cowell (interviewed by Hugh McKay on Friday June 24th) and William McInnes (interviewed by Richard Fidler on Saturday June 25th). Other authors, moderators and interviewers making an appearance include Ita Buttrose, Kristin Williamson, Barrie Cassidy, Heather Ewart, Alexandria Bernard, Peter Thompson and Graeme Dobell.

An array of workshops and master-classes are also on offer, including Avigail Herman’s Voice and Song Master-Class (Sunday June 19th), Sandra Bates Director’s Master-Class (Saturday June 25th) and Michael Futcher’s Playwriting Master-Class (Sunday June 19th).

Book early to avoid disappointment. The Noosa Longweekend is a sell-out event and if you don’t want to miss out, get in early to secure your event tickets and accommodation.

Booking Information:


Accommodation Information: or