Posts Tagged ‘Lind Lane Theatre


The Boat & Big Rig Casanova


The Boat & Big Rig Casanova

Lind Lane Theatre

24th May – 1st June 2013


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward


The Boat

by Jill Shearer


Directed by Anne Grant

Featuring Ray Paine, Denise Hauville, Sean McBride & Kathryn Barnes


Confident direction and a decent exploration of Jill Shearer’s affecting text about a family man who is retrenched isn’t enough to send it skimming across the waves to us, but The Boat drifts along nicely for a while, and reveals a new creative force in Director, Anne Grant.



In the little Lind Lane Theatre foyer, Grant provides terrific detail about absurdist theatre, for those who are unfamiliar with the genre, and a copy of the heartfelt tribute to Shearer, which David Berthold wrote at the time of her passing in 2012. It’s lovely to know that the production will be re-staged in the Seaside Museum on Bribie Island, where Shearer originally imagined the play, in a twilight performance on June 9th.


Sel (Ray Paine) sets up his reality confidently, without question, and the wife (Denise Hauville) and son (Sean McBride) support him in it just long enough to make sure we’ve invested too. A neat theatrical convention – an excellent choice – allows us time to process the unlikely image before us, which is a boat in the middle of a living room. Shearer’s is poignant, perfect writing, beautifully realised, and losing nothing until the introduction of the son’s girlfriend (Kathryn Barnes), which leads to a climax that seems undermined by some awkward moments. The naturalistic delivery style gets a little lost in the water at this stage, but on a special note; for his theatrical debut, Paine shines in this production.

The Boat
sets out from the shore strongly, and suffers a little as it suddenly loses the wind from its sails, but I did enjoy it, and I can imagine it will feel just perfect in the Seaside Museum. If you can catch it there, on June 9th, go see Grant’s production of Jill Shearer’s The Boat for yourself.



Big Rig Casanova

by David Haviland


Directed by David Haviland

featuring Michael Healy, David Haviland, Kirsty White, Julian White & Rex Halverson



As with any new, unheralded thing, one goes in slightly wary, but there was no need for any misgivings about David Haviland’s Big Rig Casanova; it’s an entertaining, amusing and mysterious plot-driven piece that gives us a unique Australian story, a couple of good outback characters, and an upbeat song to boot! It feels like it wants to be a bigger show, something on the scale of Bob Cat Dancing perhaps?! Just imagine!


With projected images of a painted sunburnt country scene – picture an army of anthills and a windmill under various shades of blazing sun and sunsets – and minimal set pieces, we settle into an empty, eerie, outback out-station that hides away an artistic soul and his alter ego (some might say “muse”) from the harsh reality of the exterior, the “real world”. Colin Grevett  and Josh Wilson (Lighting & Sound) have contributed a distinct, almost hollow ambience to this production. It’s just right. With an odd assortment of additional characters to lead us, eventually, in the right direction, we see the pieces of the puzzle fall into place and start to understand the man…and a little bit about what it must be like to live alone in an ancient sacred place. I’d love to hear more about the spiritual aspects of the setting; the Indigenous aspect of the tale is so alluring and could easily help to raise the stakes when developed further. It seems a stronger character piece than perhaps first intended (or at least, advertised), but there’s a high-stakes sub-plot begging to be explored.


I look forward to seeing more from Haviland, and whether or not anything more is done with his Big Rig Casanova.



Tonight is the final performance of the two one-act plays at Lind Lane Theatre but there’s certainly some must-sees coming up, among them, JRB’s superb Songs for a New World, produced by The Tipokis and starring Patrice Tipoki Arkins, Kuki Arkins, Jennifer Vuletic and Mark Doggett, together with Musical Director Laura Tipoki. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about this production!





Veronica’s Room


A classic thriller by Ira Levin sees our couples twist and turn through this riveting and suspenseful piece of theatre. This macabre tale is set in Boston in the 70’s… or is it the 30’s? It will have you on the edge of your seat waiting for the next spine chilling twist.


With just three more performances, you still have time to catch this terrific thriller. You know Lind Lane Theatre hasn’t topped my list of Must-Sees lately but if they continue down this path (IT’S TIME!), that may be about to change. When Patricia Waterson was unable to continue with the production due to circumstances beyond anybody’s control, “Two Guys” stepped up to share the directing role. What Colin Grevett and Errol Morrison have done with Veronica’s Room is to leave it alone, and allow us to enjoy a horrifying story that gradually unfolds without allowing anything to get in the way of the storytelling.


Ira Levin’s brilliance is in the slow burn, and the surprising number of extraordinary reveals along the way; like his other well known works, Rosemary’s Baby (yikes!) and The Stepford Wives (eek!), there is plenty here to gasp at!



Despite an overwritten and thus a rather drawn-out, infuriating conclusion (think, again, of The Rocky Horror Picture Show), Veronica’s Room gives the actors deeply layered characters and unusual, intense relationships. It’s much stronger dramatic work than we’ve become accustomed to seeing at this venue. I still regard Lind Lane as the best little theatre on the Sunshine Coast, and it’s so good to come back to it as an audience member without cringing and ducking away quickly after a show! Just saying!


With set design and construction by Grevett and Morrison, and costumes by Anne Grant, the production looks great. And what a surprise it was to see Anne there, after not seeing her since QUT days! I’m looking forward to seeing Anne put on her director’s hat for Jill Shearer’s The Boat in May (it’s the second half of a double bill), and Summer Wonderland in October. In between, our much loved Nancy Kinmond will direct Stepping Out The Musical for a strictly limited June season.


488138_595095607187234_1196463081_nThe performances in Veronica’s Room are mostly confident, mostly solid, and it’s Rachel Halverson with whom I’m most impressed. Halverson was last seen in Noosa Arts Theatre’s The Fantastiks and in this we could not see a more contrasting role. Playing Susan-playing-Veronica is a stretch for many, but this is a great, gutsy performance that younger, less experienced actors (and older, more experienced actors too I might add) would benefit from seeing.


I’m so pleased Halverson is stretching herself this year with a couple of challenging roles, and a place in QTC’s Youth Theatre Ensemble, where she’s working with some of Brisbane’s best actors, directors and writers, including David Burton, about whom Halverson has raved, telling us that she can see their authentic selves will appear during their work with him, “whether we like it or not!” I can’t wait to see the showcase this year, after being super impressed with the work of the 2012 cohort!


Halverson is ably supported by Tully Grimley as the Young Man, Lea-Anne Grevett as the Lady, and Martin Harding as the Man.


If you’ve been meaning to get back to Lind Lane Theatre for a while now, Veronica’s Room won’t disappoint. Too bad I didn’t get to see it sooner, but with three shows remaining, including a matinee at 2pm on Saturday, you can still see it! For last minute tickets, call Denise on 07 5441 1814 or book online.



That Woman

That Woman

Written and directed by Jo Denver

Lind Lane Theatre

21st September – 29th September 2012

That Woman

“Everyone calls me Madame.”

She’s an American Beauty Icon.

She’s the woman behind the beauty industry.

She’s the woman who invented the mascara wand!

That Woman. Helena Rubinstein.

We don’t make a habit of reviewing previews but with The Fantasticks, Kelly, Brisbane Festival, the six year old almost on holidays and deadlines coming out of my ears, I just had to see this show at some stage and that happened to be Wednesday night’s preview.

You see, I wouldn’t have missed this one. And nor should you.

In her latest work, Sunshine Coast playwright, Jo Denver, explores the rivalry between America’s founding beauty queens, Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden. Leading the makeup wars of the 1920’s – 1960’s, the women run head to head (and streets ahead of Revlon, Estee Lauder and the lower placed beauty brands). This is not just a history lesson for budding beauty therapists and cosmetic counter queens (though it’s a terrific, entertaining start!); it’s also an insightful imagining of one woman’s struggle to attain a balance between her family and her career. It sounds like a variation on the clichéd battle cry

WOMEN CAN HAVE IT ALL (we can but not all at the same time)

but it doesn’t come across that way. That Woman is a gentle feminist nudge and a timely reminder that it’s hard work and unfaltering self-confidence (and a bit of savvy marketing) that makes a winning combination.

Perfectly cast in the role of Madame Helena Rubinstein is the petite Michelle Connelly. She effortlessly pulls off the strange Polish-Jewish-Australian accent, the elegant fashions and the dramatic mannerisms and quirks (shall we say charms?), for which Madame was famous. Skillfully treading in her two toned high heeled T-Bars, Connelly finds the fine line between taking this character too far OTT and underplaying her conflicting emotions beautifully. This woman is a delight to watch.

She is well-matched by Sharon Grimley as the articulate Canadian born American, Elizabeth Arden, either known or imagined (I don’t know because I never did do the Elizabeth Arden training) to profess to her “ladies” the qualities desirable in a “lady” without necessarily being one herself. Grimley takes the sarcasm and various verbal vulgarities to the hilt. Brett Klease provides a gentle balance to early proceedings as Madame’s first husband, Titus, who seeks his own life outside of their marriage and despite his attempts to return to it on more than one occasion, Rubinstein never quite finds the time or energy to attend to her marriage the way she does her career.

Supporting roles are played by Adam Freeman, Sean Bennett, Rachael Fentiman, Howard Tampling, Mandi Hardcastle, Megan Zmendels, Dave Stygal, Julia Dawson and Hayley Freeman. It’s Fentiman’s natural comedy and gosh-darn-it-all pure cuteness that stands out here, when she appears as the naïve lady of the night, Gloria (in Act 1) and later, the much sassier Estee Lauder (in Act 2). She enjoys some lovely funny banter, in the first instance with Klease, and in the second with Tampling.

The action takes place against a stark black and white set comprised of a piece of New York City skyline and a multi-purpose interior, which serves as offices and various city spaces. It’s only when the staging changes later, bringing forth a runway and beautifully backlit silhouettes of the makeup moguls behind three screens that we get a glimpse of the image conscious world of Fifth Avenue that was such an influence on business and public perception at the time. There was a hint of it within scenes that touched on the media attention given to both women but I felt the high fashion element served to raise the stakes and needed to be prevalent in the interior design (to match the finesse of the costumes) much earlier.

Denver’s is an astute study and I’d love to see more of Madame. Whether it’s intentional or not, Denver gives us a very balanced view of both women and could certainly afford her leading lady more time in the spotlight. Varying approaches and a fourth wall that takes the opportunity to leap up and down in a bid for the next boy girl wall tour means that we have a combination of conventional dialogue, abstract thought and direct delivery to the audience. Within a witty, well-informed text, a couple of the monologues don’t ring quite true…yet (perhaps there are just too many of them) and an extended spiel given to Madame’s right hand man, Patrick, appears to come out of left field. It would perhaps work better in Titus’s hands. A couple of leaps of faith as far as audience following the story goes, are taken boldly and with the help of an enjoyable soundtrack, we usually know whereabouts in time and space we are.

What I love about this work is that we see Rubinstein brought to life without the inclusion of conventional scenes requiring additional characters offering extraneous detail. This approach can be applied more fully yet and with a little bit of whittling, bring the piece up to a sharper, snappier pace. It’s excellent fodder for actors, beautifully written. I should mention (or perhaps I should not!), that when a friend mentioned after the show the need for a couple of rewrites to the playwright, Denver laughed and said warily over her champagne, “Rewrites? Don’t talk to me about rewrites!” But I’d like to see this play again, after said rewrites and see if it doesn’t tell a tighter, more intriguing story.  Rubinstein is so deliciously, stylishly drawn that we need to hear only a little from everybody else. Much like Denver’s Into the Mist, which featured Joy Marshall as the comedy actress Margaret Rutherford, That Woman is a showcase for the actress who plays Madame. And it is Madame’s story that interests me most.

Not only for the ladies, That Woman boasts fabulous fully drawn characters and a fascinating story of what it takes to make a single life a success. That Woman breathes new, fashionable life into the Sunshine Coast theatre scene. If you haven’t been to see anything for a while it’s time to dress up and head to Lind Lane Theatre to catch the world premiere run of Jo Denver’s enlightening and highly entertaining That Woman.

P.S. Let’s hope we see the musical version up on its feet soon too!

Gala Opening Night: Friday 21 September at 8pm – Tickets $28

Season Continues: September 22, 26, 28 & 29 at 8pm

Matinees: September 23 & 29 at 2pm

Tickets $22 concessions apply


That Woman & The Fantasticks opening this week

That Woman

That Woman

A new play written and directed by local playwright Jo Denver.

Set between the 1920’s and the 1960’s. It looks at the ruthlessness behind the glamour of the beauty industry. It centres on the life, and rise, both personal and professional of Helena Rubinstein and chronicles her career and that of her rivals, most interestingly “that Woman”, cosmetic giant Elizabeth Arden.  

When:  Sept 21, 22, 26, 28, 29 at 8pm 

Matinees:  Sept 23, 29 @2pm

Cost:  Adults $ 22. Conc. apply. Group discounts available.

Bookings:  Ph 54411814 or

The Fantasticks

The Fantasticks

By Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones.

Director Ian Mackellar

MD Julie Simpson

The world’s longest running musical! 

The poetic book and breezy, inventive score, including Try to Remember, helped make this show so durable.  It is played with a small cast, a two-person orchestra, and minimalist set design.

Sam Coward plays El Gallo in this old favourite.

When:  September 21, 22, 27, 28, 29, Oct 4, 5 & 6 at 7.30pm

Matinee:  September 23 and 30 at 2pm

Cost:  Adult $30, Conc. $26, Member/Group $24, Child $20

Cut-price Preview Thursday September 20 at 7.30pm – all tickets $20

Bookings: 5449 9343 or

The Fantasticks

Would you trust this man bearing gifts???
Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance President, Sam Coward, makes his long-awaited return to the musical stage as El Gallo. He is joined by talented teens Rachel Halverson and Callum Hamacek as the young love struck duo. Don’t miss John Woodlock and Ian Mackellar as their meddling fathers, and Carly Partridge as the Mute. Opens Friday. Bookings





Lind Lane Theatre

July 20th – August 4th 2012

Reviewed by Meredith McLean

Red Hat Society Facebook

I have myself a long road to travel before I hit the big Five-O. That and my closest brush with the Red Hat Society came around the time that Simpsons episode aired about Marge joining the RHS and stealing Mr. Burns’ secret valuables. So they seemed pretty adventurous and daring back then and even though I’m nowhere near the halfway mark to a letter from the Queen I still found moments where I couldn’t stop laughing during the musical, Hats!

Hats! sings and dances its way through the lives of six fifty-something women educating their newest recruit, Marianne, all about the adventures of the Red Hat Ladies. There are some tender moments as well as some upbeat numbers that are sure to break a smile out on your face. Marianne being reluctant at first to address herself as anything older than 49.9999 slowly learns to live life the way she wants to regardless of what her age is.

There are certain scenes where I found the sappiness a little hard to bear. Whether the fault lies in the original script or if the cast just didn’t bring in the suitable tenderness needed, it was a struggle to push through the quieter moments. Just a general swirl of words like “heartbreak” and “confusion”, “lost love” and blah blah blah. Dampen the mood even more with some soft lighting and gentle piano music and hey presto, your typical sob story unfolds. Perhaps I’m being unrelenting, or even unsympathetic to these characters but the genuine sadness I look for in a performance did not reach me in the back row this time.

Despite this weakness seen at the Lind Lane Theatre the performance makes up for it with more upbeat tactics. Two particular actresses kept me wonderfully entertained from start to finish. Jen Somerville and Julie Pickard who play Duchess and Contessa Confessa respectively. They kicked off in an interwoven duologue then kept their presence on stage until the very end. With their musical numbers and their choreography. My favourite especially was Somerville as Duchess reminding us 50 doesn’t mean it has to end in the bedroom. Encouraging words for women or not, the hilarious red lit number made me forget the sappier, lacking moments of before.

Lind Lane has once again presented us with a curious little production. I’ve known the organisation for a long time now and the fun ambience is still there.

Hats! Though a little feeble in its serious moments, brings some great laughs to the audience. While it’s certainly not a show for the kids, anyone who understands we all get older eventually will love this production of Hats! 

Hats The Musical

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