Posts Tagged ‘Megan Shorey


A Night at the Judy: Undies & Courtney Act at Brisbane Cabaret Festival

Brisbane Cabaret Festival

A Night at the Judy: Brisbane Cabaret Festival

The Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts

25th October – 11th November 2012


Reviewed by Meredith McLean


This was not an average night at the Judy. Everyone was here for one thing and for one thing only; the Brisbane Cabaret Festival. Starting on the 25th of October, there is still a chance for you to experience this great celebration of wit, charm and music that is cabaret. Bringing together a cornucopia of spectacular creations from Brisbanites and fellow Aussies in theatre. I was lucky enough to indulge in two wonderfully funny and contrasting performances on Saturday night.


Arriving while the night was still young, the valley was already buzzing with promise of a good time. On my way to the Judy I had already passed a man in a bear suit, two women dressed as some kind of sci-fi woodland spirit mash-up and either the second coming of the Holy Saviour, but more likely it was just a man dressed as Jesus. Nothing could faze me once I finally stepped into the foyer of the Judith Wright Centre. I was ready for madness.


And that’s exactly what I got.


Megan Shorey

Megan Shorey beaming with those manic, expressive eyes of hers has stunned us many times over with her past award winning works. So I had high hopes for her show Undies. Sometimes I wonder what deal she made with the devil to acquire a voice like that. It’s as if it has a persona all of it’s own. Really, there should be a spot on the flyer for it. “Undies by Megan Shorey starring Megan Shorey’s Voice!”


Note to self: Get in touch with the marketing team and suggest this to them for any of her future shows.


Undies starts off with the a touch of history. Bloomers, britches, pantaloons, pantihose, undergarments, you name it. The obvious starting point for a show of such matters. But then we divulge deeper into aspects I never thought of. It’s the kind of discussion between performer and audience when the moment Shorey preaches her thoughts you realise you knew this all along, just never consciously acknowledged it. There are some serious numbers too, though my favourite of her songs laments how you’ll never get spanked in Spanx. But you’ll learn all about that if you see the show.


Even the moments between the melodies embrace the hilarity of this production. Megan Shorey is someone who is naturally funny. In her face, her voice, she knows what to say and how to say it. But it’s as if she doesn’t even try. It’s as if we the audience are her diary and her thoughts that she shares with us are just coincidentally hilarious. Unfortunately, the show has to end but this does not mean there isn’t an encore. It is undoubtedly a show worth seeing. (Like all of Shorey’s work, this show is too good for one-season-only so you’re sure to see it pop up again. Keep an eye out for future show dates at a venue near you).


There was a brief lull before I had to head back into the fray. The lights, once more bright, guiding me to my seat and then simmering down to darkness for the next show to begin. It was the same stage, but somehow I was on a new planet.


Alien of Extraordinary Ability is a drinks in hand kind of adventure listening to Courtney Act tell us about her intergalactic travels to America and back. Courtney Act made her break back in 2003 on Australian Idol. From there she has climbed ARIA charts, rocked around the globe and even performed for Lady GaGa at her private party.


Courtney Act

This show is classic cabaret with contemporary twist. Beguiling us with anecdotes of Oprah, the highlife of West Hollywood and the dangerous fun of “Disgraceland” Even Dr. Phil crops up in this galactic conquest of hers.


Unfortunately the rhythm I’d felt with Megan Shorey was not the same with this second performance. Courtney Act did confess to us she had “a frog in my throat. He was a prince this morning…” but this does not excuse the occasional off-key tones I heard. The worst was during her rendition of Suddenly Seymour from one of my favourite musicals, Little Shop of Horrors, when she and the pianist (whom had a stunning and beautiful voice providing spectacular back vocals mind you) tried to harmonise the final verse. Somewhere in the beautiful mess of all that glitter, stage light and pulsing music, their voices just could not find each other. Instead, producing an awkward, stilting closing to the song. Otherwise the set list was perfect. Witty, funny, and Courtney looked fabulous dancing in her silvery extraterrestrial get-up.


Some of the jokes in Alien of Extraordinary Ability came off a little too blunt and forced. Courtney’s ad-lib at times threw me too. There was a moment when a couple of latecomers apologetically scurried to their seats and she asked, “Welcome to the show. Can I get you anything? A watch perhaps?” It just had a tone a touch too snippy.


Despite these brief but jilting moments the show was everything to be expected. Bright and buzzing, funny and raunchy, and thoroughly sequined. The show was a great cap to the night leaving everyone giddy and laughing.


You do not want to miss out on this celebration of feathers, jazz, sparkling costumes, loud voices and swanky piano players. Undies with Megan Shorey and Alien of Extraordinary Ability featuring Courtney Act, are not much more than a snippet of Brisbane’s Cabaret Festival.


The close is nearing – the  11th of November to be exact  – so make sure you get tickets soon.



UNDIES: Brisbane Cabaret Festival


“This woman has an amazing voice and writes beautiful melodies.”

(Nikki Aitken – Cabaret Confessional)

“No range issues with Megan Shorey’s voice: in her merrier moments, she sounds as if she might achieve takeoff from the piano stool and fly into the lighting rig. Her musical heights are directed down below: Undies takes on the history of knickers, from primitive loincloth to spandex thong.Sharp and satirical songs, dexterously woven with cheeky feminist humour, rove over the differences between boys’ and girls’ undergarments, the perils of lingerie, and the joys of letting it all hang out….the show is seamless and clever, with Shorey’s musical antics and elastic expressions making for an entertaining and sometimes very silly ride.” (The Age)

Award-winning songwriter/playwright and performer Megan Shorey believes we can chart the ups and downs of our lives through the evolution of our


From Spiderman to Calvin Klein; pink thong to Cottontails, the stories are often sad, but oh-so-true!

Premiering at the 2011 Australian Cabaret Showcase (Syd) and with 2012 seasons at The Melbourne Cabaret Festival and Ballarat Cabaret Festival before playing Brisbane’s very own Judith Wright Centre as part of the Brisbane Cabaret Festival, we recommend you wear your best pair, ‘cause UNDIES is a comedy cabaret set to get your knickers in a twist.


Saturday November 3rd

Judith Wright Centre


Undies Megan Shorey


how much do we love pozible?

If you haven’t come across it already, is a crowdfunding platform for creative projects. It’s how our friends at Joymas Creative partly funded the premiere of Megan Shorey’s original work, One in Seven. It’s how the Melbourne Cabaret Festival is able to continue (fully funded in under 48 hours)!

There are other crowdfunding ventures but we see a LOT of original work that interests us on Pozible. And it seems that the projects are more quickly and more widely shared across social media, meaning of course, that the artists are able to raise the required funds sooner. (There’s nothing scientific in that statement, it’s just what we’ve noticed.)

Pozible from Pozible on Vimeo.

The latest project we feel is important to support is Zen Zen Zo’s upcoming production Vikram and the Vampire

Adapted from the award-winning production of The King and the Corpse, and based on a series of fantastical Hindu tales, Vikram and the Vampire is a magical night of comedy, horror and dynamic physical theatre which celebrates the art of storytelling and ensemble playing.

The exciting cast includes Sandro Colarelli, Bryan Probets, Lizzie Ballinger, Chris Beckey, Liz Buchanan, Lauren Jackson, Jamie Kendall, Earl Kim and Melissa Budd.

Directed by Michael Futcher. Winner – Best Director – 2011 Matilda Awards


Where is the money going?

Zen Zen Zo are a “not for profit” theatre company. The $3000 raised through Pozible will assist the company in covering production costs, which will greatly enhance the visual appeal of the production. Your money will go directly towards: 

– the hire of a tarkett floor for the safety of the physical performers
– costuming the entire production
– constructing the set 
– transforming the Studio space with a “Burning Ground” installation
– purchasing props for the production

Of course, you can also support the company by booking tickets and helping to spread word about the show! But be quick (opening night is already SOLD OUT)!

If you feel like this production is a cause you’d like to support, head on over to and pledge any amount. While you’re there, take a look at the other projects and you’ll get a magic little glimpse at the sort of work getting up off the ground with the help of communities. I love this notion, of audience members and community having the option to “buy in”, essentially becoming a producer on the project. It’s a bit like Nuala’s Ireland-Ghana Children’s Project or anything else that asks you to “buy in”. If it suits you, support it. If not, do share the love by telling somebody else how easy it is for them to become a proud supporter of new Australian art!

Book online


one in seven

Our friends at Joymas Creative are busy preparing for their One In Seven creative development presentation tonight at the Judith Wright Centre. An invited industry audience and YOU (via U-Stream) will see the first phase in Megan Shorey’s new musical work. If you’re not at home you can watch on your smarty pants phone! There’s really no excuse to miss it!

One In Seven has a great deal of support from the industry and we are happy to share the love. Look out for further developments. Remember, new work needs captive, supportive audiences…

Make sure you’re in front of your computer or that smarty pants phone by 7pm!

One In Seven u-streams live from 7pm


New Musicals Australia – The Shortlist


New Musicals Australia is a fab new initiative from the very clever Kris Stewart, whom you know from The New York Musical Theater Festival, The Sydney Fringe Festival and Wicked (Australia) and his amazing team of some of our most talented and passionate industry people, who cannot bear to see musical theatre brilliance left in the bottom drawer.

There is brilliant new musical theatre happening already, all over the country – look at the shortlisted Handle With Care by Megan Shorey, with a successful Brisbane season under their belts and an original cast album launched just last week. Look at the shortlisted A Little Touch of Class by James Millar and Peter Rutherford, which was commissioned by WAAPA to be performed as part of their 30th birthday celebrations. Look at this creative team’s previous works, Lovebites (nominated for Best Cabaret in the 2008 Sydney Awards) and The Hatpin (official selection for the NYMF).

Okay we will. We’ll look at them. In a minute. The important thing now, having been shortlisted for this workshop series, is that these pieces will get the additional attention they deserve, and with a bit of kind support from the movers and shakers in this country, rather than the artists themselves having to devote their time and energy into playing Producer as well as putting on their many other hats, such as Director, Musical Director, Composer, Lyricist, Performer, Performing Arts Grants Writer…and the list goes on – never say an artist is master of just one craft – Australian audiences get to see great Australian work.

Also, the fact that these artists are already supported on some level and they have been confident enough in their work to be sharing it with main stream audiences, cannot have escaped the attention of the advisory panel. Just saying.

Case in point. James Millar is a modest, multi-talented-beyond-belief-writer-singer-actor-you-name-it-he-can-do-it kinda guy, who wrote a couple of shows several years ago with Peter Rutherford. I bet there are more, probably to be found in somebody’s bottom drawer, in time for an intense rehearsal stint and a Sydney run before next year’s NMA deadline.


N.B. Lazy bit – copying and pasting this from Sonia Allan’s review:

Four voices team with one piano to create a delightful night of fun, breezy musical entertainment.

LoveBites is a “quirky song cycle about love and relationships” which tells the story of six different relationships – from the cute, blushing beginning of flirtation and romance, to the pointy-end of the relationship, where the connection between lovers has either grown deeper over time, or has been worn thin by frustration and hurt.

The music-and-lyrics team that created ‘The Hatpin’ which opened to audiences earlier this year to great success, has once again joined forced to write a song-cycle on the theme of Love. Or Lurrrve, as the case may be.

Among other stories, there is the film star and flight attendant who arrange some ‘personal entertainment’ mid-flight, a twittering dame who valiantly pretends to love rockclimbing to impress her new beau, and (a personal favourite) the story of two members of a bookclub, startled to be left alone to chat over the merits of George Orwell when nobody else shows.

The production is small-scale, with a simple open stage, a slide-show of projected images, and a piano to one side where composer Peter Rutherford accompanies the four singers, Octavia Barron-Martin, Tyler Burness, Sarah Croser and James Millar, who co-wrote the show with Rutherford, supplying the lyrics. While occasional vocal shrillness from Barron-Martin marred an otherwise entertaining performance, overall each of the performers displayed great comic timing, heartfelt engagement with the more tender, sorrowful stories, and a strong command of the music.

This is a sweet, fun, modest show that sets itself a simple concept and executes it sharply, cleverly and with high entertainment value.

But be warned – after seeing this show, you may find yourself fighting the urge to carry out every conversation you have the next day in song.


The Hatpin. You may have heard of it. Or you may not have heard of it…yet. The Hatpin was nominated in 2009 for 3 Sydney Theatre awards (Michelle Doake won Best Actress in a Musical), after a successful season at the 2008 NYMF with the following cast (you may have heard of some of them)

Amber Murray – Alexis Fishman

Harriet Piper – Caroline O’Connor

Charles Makin – Paul Kandel

Agatha Makin – Cyrilla Baer

Clara Makin – Gemma-Ashley Kaplan

Justice Stephens / James Hanoney – Michael A. Pizzi

Marianne Leonard – Casey Erin Clark

Minnie Davis – Mary Catherine McDonald

Rebecca Rigby – Sharone Halevy

Edward Cleary – Matt Leisy

Thomas Williamson – Billy Clark Taylor




To enquire about performance rights for The Hatpin in Australia and New Zealand, contact the good people at Hal Leonard.


And now, another quick copy and paste so that, without further ado, you may see who else is on the Shortlist and what happens next! Stay tuned!

NMA cont’d…
Our inaugural call for submissions unveiled a wealth of new and exciting work. The NMA office received almost 50 new Australian musicals ranging from rock to classical – from fantasy to history. The NMA evaluation panel has reviewed the submissions and we are proud to announce our shortlist for the 2010/11 workshop season.


Carnival Joe(by Mark Jones & Anthony Crowley)
A broad, exuberant Australian musical comedy, set during the spring racing carnival of 1933.

Handle With Care (by Megan Shorey)
A collection of four short musicals celebrating both the beauty and bitch of being a woman.

Houdini- The Man From Beyond (by Russell Bauer & Dr Bruce Dawe)
Through vaudeville performance and recreations of some of his signature illusions, we’re shown the final 15 years in the life of Harry Houdini.

Kells (by Stefan Cassomenos & Nick Musgrove)
A symphonic musical inspired by the true story of the killer whales of Eden.

La Creole (by Julia Plummer, Nicholas Gentile & Cheryl Sawyer)
A revenge tale set in 1755 where a slave from Martinique runs away to Paris and Versailles determined to destroy her cruel Master.

A Little Touch of Chaos (by Peter Rutherford & James Millar)
Through different characters and intersecting timelines, the experience of growing-up for a parent echoes the experience of growing-up for their child.

Mother, Wife and the Complicated Life (by Amity Dry)
A tale of modern marriage and motherhood, seen through the experiences of four close friends.

Prix D’Amour (by Paul Dion)
A sweeping historical drama, spanning from Manila during the Vietnam War to Perth in the 1980s.

Refrakting (by David Peake)
It’s Saturday night in Melbourne, and the city’s youth are converging to get trashed. To forget. But there’s something that Jaydn can’t forget.

Showtrain(by Andrew Worboys & Zvonko Jovicic)
A tall yarn spun by a mysterious vagabond minstrel as a travelling sideshow try desperately to save their way of life on the showtrain.

Three Weeks in Spring (by Russell Tredinnick & Ian Gerrard)
Private John Simpson and his donkey sit at the centre of a contemporary imagining of the origins of Anzac Day.

A Woman’s Eyes (by Paul Keelan & Gary Young)
The story of an ordinary Australian woman’s life set against extraordinary events of the twentieth century.

All shortlisted works now receive further consideration by NMA artistic staff, representatives of the Australia Council Music Board and other industry professionals.  From this shortlist, works are selected to receive workshopping opportunities within the New Musicals Australia initiative.

Advisory panel members who read submitted works included Peter Casey, Will Conyers, Kellie Dickerson, Rodney Dobson, Neil Gooding, Roger Hodgman, Karen Johnson Mortimer, Guy Noble, Jennifer Murphy, Peter Ross and Darren Yap.

New Musicals Australia has three key workshop initiatives: The Musical Snapshot, which presents a twenty to forty minute extract of the musical in concert alongside other new works, The Developmental Reading, which sees a new work rehearsed and performed in concert and the Workshop Presentation, which allows a musical to be rehearsed and performed book-down with staging and some production elements.  New Musicals Australia also supports a variety of other initiatives targeted at developing new works, establishing networks and providing support for independent writers.