Posts Tagged ‘oscar theatre co


BOY&GIRL2 – Mercury Rising


boy&girl2 – Mercury Rising

Powerhouse Theatre

January 15 – 24 2015


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward






The return of this highly anticipated production was too much for Sam to resist. Even with his 3:30am wake up, he wasn’t going to miss it! Our friend, Shae, didn’t miss the opportunity to come along either. Testament to the reputation of Emily Gilhome’s Oscar Theatre Co, and the level of respect the company has earned by consistently presenting impressively staged works showcasing Brisbane’s top talent, EVERY SHOW SOLD OUT. AGAIN.


Gilhome knows better than anyone in Brisbane, how to make “sexy” sophisticated and fun, for everyone. It’s never tacky, and a lot of it is so luscious that you might wonder why you’re not already enjoying the benefits of both male and female friends. JUST SAYING. Gender and sexuality become irrelevant; we get the message that we are all equal. AND ALL SEXY. Also, the publicity shots are spot on (Photographer Joel Devereux), featuring barely clad beautiful boys and girls, clearly targeting anyone with blood running through their veins and fifty dollars in their pocket.


Sexy is sexy, regardless of who you are…or who you do.


boy&girl2 – Mercury Rising is a new version of the gender bending cabaret, which we saw in April last year in the Visy. I preferred the intimacy of that smaller space but for others it’s appropriately (much, MUCH!) bigger, and better than ever in the Powerhouse Theatre. BOOM BOOM! With the addition of a mesmerising aerial tissu act and a few subtle changes in the casting and running order, it’s a super sexy, slightly naughty show that could easily be enjoyed every week in the right venue…anyone?


This show is hot, hot, HOT with lots of laughs, svelte bodies and fine voices.


I love Oscar’s sass, but this is a large cast and some performers naturally bring more energy and vibrancy than others can muster. It’s a tight band (Daniel Robbins, Gene Stevens, Justin Bliss and MD Dale Lingwood). They’re settled on stage even when not involved in a musical number, and busy themselves taking iPhone photos of the audience. I don’t know why, when on stage there is THIS:




Thrilling, funny moments come when the performers move through the audience and leap onto cabaret tables to strike a suggestive pose. BRACE POSITION! There are some standout performances once again, including those by Aya Valentine, Garret Lyon, Josh Daveta and Chris Kellett, superbly unsubtle; his best form to date. We see the return of the Disney parody, Helga’s hilarious Avenue Q number (this is when Valentine shines), the rebirth of Beyonce (Lyon’s transformation from ensemble member to superstar), a tantalising tango, and Cell Block Tango from Chicago featuring the boys in the cast.


Choreography by Dan Venz is as impressive as ever; it’s slick, sharp and oh-so-sensual. The bigger numbers, including Cell Block Tango, lose none of their original impact in the much larger space, which looks fabulously shabby and dingy thanks to Falco Fox (Set Designer) and Jason Glenwright (Lighting Designer).


All of this and more (the all-girl boy band is a hit!) after a sassy opening number involving an ensemble strip, boldly led by Chloe Rose Taylor, out of cute flight attendant outfits to reveal strategically worn strips of elastic, straps, bodysuits, bodices and stockings. The suggestion that we are starting out with just a little bit of naughtiness is suddenly shattered! The Hellfire Club effect is achieved largely by allowing individual wardrobe choices, assembled and coordinated under the keen eye of Designer, Joel Devereux.




It’s my hope that she stays here – that we find a way to keep her here – but it goes without saying that Gilhome would not be out of place directing one of the country’s major cabaret festivals, the opening number for the Tony Awards, or Vivienne Westwood’s runway show. She deftly creates top entertainment, Brisbane’s best night out, every time she puts on a production. So it’s no surprise to see the audience lapping it up, almost desperate by the end of it for more, more MORE!


boy&girl2 – Mercury Rising is the sexy sensory overload you might not have realised you needed this year. What better way to begin it than with a bang and a BOOM BOOM?!




Your Theatrics International Cabaret Contest – Queensland Winner Jessica Papst


Your Theatrics International Cabaret Contest

Your Theatrics International

Brisbane Powerhouse Visy Theatre

Saturday January 11 2014


Attended by Xanthe Coward


Jessica Papst

Jessica Papst – Queensland Winner – Your Theatrics International Cabaret Contest


Congratulations to Queensland Winner, Jessica Papst!


“The Cabaret Showcase has been growing year after year, but 2013 looks to be the most exciting yet.  I have had the joy of being associated with it for many years and to see the progress of its winners – on TV, in musical theatre, with their award winning podcasts and sell-out international shows”.

David Campbell – Australian Entertainment Industry Icon and Cabaret Contest  Patron


On Saturday we arrived at Brisbane Powerhouse for Sam’s 4pm call. He and Australian Cabaret Showcase Winner of 2011, Angela Harding, had plenty of time to catch up and plan their approach to the gig, which was delightful and charming (Ang) and more than a little bit cheeky (Sam).


Sam Coward

Sam takes the opportunity to sing for us his favourite number from The Pirate Show – Show Them To Me


The Queensland heat finalists were Julie Beard, Toni Zaffa, Adam Flower, James Halloran, Rachel Head, Bobbie-Jean Henning, Louise Kennedy, Steve MacKay, Dana Musil, Jessica Papst, Nicole Power, Belinda Raisin, Belinda Hanne-Reid & Marcus Skeggs. Each took their turn to sound check and then there was time to warm up (or grab a drink and a quick snack upstairs at Bar Alto. The mashed mint pea bruschetta is excellent, just so you know).


A capacity Visy audience enjoyed varied performances, and to tell the whole truth, among them were just a few that actually looked and sounded like “cabaret”. Sam and I have argued about this, but to me and to the Sydney judges – read below what Neil Litchfield reiterated after the Sydney heat via Stage Whispers – when you’ve got an 8-minute segment you need to do a little more than sing a couple of your best audition pieces.


Jeremy Youett & Jessica Papst


Offerings where patter simply strings together a couple of showtunes of choice don’t cut the mustard any more.


Scaled back from the previous competition format which included multiple Sydney heats, the performance standard was impressive throughout, and it was probably the quality of concept, writing skills, or a directorial hand kicking in which made the difference – that, and the ability to adeptly distill the essence of a longer show into the time constraint, ahead of the dreaded bell.


Given just eight minutes each, it’s about enough time for two contrasting songs to display vocal and dramatic range, top notes, etc., tightly selected linking patter from those fully developed scripts, and that was the most common approach, though effectively others pluck multiple grabs which display the facets of their talents and offer a broad picture of the longer version…


Audience choice Ben Hudson’s instagram inspired piece, along with judges’ selections Monique Salle (and her Italian cousin), Melody Beck’s tribute to Marnie Nixon, hilarious self-accompanied comedian Sarah Gaul with her own outstanding comic song and Brendan Hay, blending comedy with a heartwrenching version of a Broadway standard, as the son of Cruella de Vil, go through to the Grand Final on January 17, at The Basement in Sydney.


Typecasting, a torchy seductress, Shakespeare on Broadway in 2014, Nuts, self-accompanied stories of a cruise ship piano bar performer or the archetypal cabaret theme of love gone wrong also featured in a night of diverse choices and storytelling.


Jeremy Youett & Jessica Papst


Well, what IS cabaret? Historically, the genre has taken on many different guises, including acts as diverse as burlesque, comedy, variety and performance art, but as Sam and I discussed at the end of the night with Your Theatrics’ Jeremy Youett, this contest is specifically designed to showcase artists in the Grand Final who are just about tour-ready, with the talent and the concept to entertain an audience for an entire evening without the support of too many additional elements (also, too many props can get messy. Just saying). A team of industry experts will work with the winner to develop their show, but the essence of it must be apparent, and there must be a certain level of confidence and a connection between artist and audience. Cabaret ain’t easy! And that’s precisely why the good cabaret artists stand out. Think previous winners, Sheridan Harbridge, Bradley McCaw, Angela Harding and Gillian Cosgriff. Also, Craig McLachlan in the 40th Anniversary production of The Rocky Horror Show. Seriously. His performance is exceptional. And very cabaret. Once we see the work of artists of this calibre we understand that there are in fact, no rules in cabaret.


To those artists yet to perform in a heat, or in the Grand Final on Friday night (January 17) at The Basement in Sydney, CHOOKAS!


Brisbane Powerhouse, The Judith Wright Centre and QPAC offer Queensland artists the next opportunity to try their hand at the art form, in the Queensland Cabaret Festival. If you’re intending to enter, you’ve missed the December deadline, but you can make sure you’re there to see the line up!


International and Australian cabaret stars take to the stage from 6-15 June at Queensland Cabaret Festival – a new festival taking place across Brisbane Powerhouse, QPAC, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, Arts Centre Gold Coast, Ipswich Civic Centre and in regional centres.


According to Queensland Cabaret Festival co-creative producers Kris Stewart and Alison St. Ledger the festival is set to bring Queenslanders the best of local and international cabaret.


Kris Stewart commented “Queensland Cabaret Festival builds upon the Brisbane Cabaret festival foundations and takes it to another level – there’ll be international and Australian performers covering the sequin-spangled heights of cabaret in all its forms.


“If you enjoy great music, dance, circus and burlesque, delivered with drama, humour and glamour then you’ll be right at home during Queensland Cabaret Festival.”


Alison St. Ledger said “We want artists that will shock, entertain and seduce an audience; no idea is too wild.”


XS Entertainment and Noosa Arts Theatre offer another opportunity in October, for performers on the Sunshine Coast (and beyond!) when we launch Keep Calm and Cabaret. Keep an eye out for more details and be prepared to submit your application before September via YouTube or USB.


In the meantime, aspiring cabaret performers can audition for Oscar Theatre Co’s boy&girl 




oscar theatre co last minute audition spots

A quick note from Oscar Theatre Co

Yeah. You know them. They brought us [title of show]. They brought us Spring Awakening.

How could you NOT want to secure one of the last audition spots that have suddenly become available and be a part of whatever they do next?!

Due to some last minute changes, there are some spots still left at the Oscar Auditions this Sunday

(April 15th)

Check out details at and share this with anyone you think may be interested!

Can’t wait – if you’ve submitted you should all have heard times and details by now. If yours has gone missing in cyberspace, email

Peace out bitches. Bring it.