Posts Tagged ‘queensland theatre




Queensland Theatre

Bille Brown Studio

March 9 – April 9 2017

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

Humans are meaning makers.

Sam Strong, Artistic Director QT


You may have had to learn the dance routine slowly and in its component parts, but in the end, you had to let go and dance.

Howard Fine


The universe doesn’t care about time…

Kat Henry, Director


We have all the time we’ve ever, and never had.

Marianne, Constellations


Nick Payne’s award winning Constellations is an extraordinary play, and Kat Henry’s world class production for Queensland Theatre and Queensland Museum (and a major coup for the World Science Festival) is nothing short of astonishing, challenging actors and audiences to truly be present, live in the moment, and make the connections between seemingly random occurrences before opportunities (and loved ones) become lost to us.

Essentially, Constellations is a beautiful and complex love story, but it’s also about the choices we make and the infinite possibilities presented across ‘multiverses’.

Historically, physics has explained time chronologically, as in the “arrow of time”, charging forward in a single trajectory, however; an alternative view sees time as something immediate, infinite, without beginning or end, presenting endless opportunities. In A Time Apart, Paul Chan describes the quality, not quantity, of time as “A kind of time charged with promise and significance.” Upon further reading it becomes clear that the two types of time are entangled and while some may regard time as something to be kept, others derive greater satisfaction in its release…

The creative team behind Constellations is a scintillating meeting of minds, bringing the abstract and complexity of quantum mechanics, string theory and relativity, and the challenges of the unlikely relationship between an apiarist and an astro physicist into a reality accessible to all. (Can you lick your elbow? Try it!).

Within a deceptively simple design lies lots of clues: the dots we connect to make meaning from the play, in the same way, if we’re living mindfully, that we’re able to make meaning of our lives. Anthony Spinaze’s design draws on the visual representation of the scientific theories, the hexagonal spaces of bee hives and a smooth, shiny, deep blue undulating surface, beneath which we sense a tumultuous emotional landscape. At any given moment, the actors appear to be standing in space, or on the peak of a mountain, or within any interior indicated in the text. We are anywhere and everywhere all at once. Spinaze’s aesthetic is one of the most inspired, intelligent and effective designs we’ve seen for a long time, and so useful in terms of giving the performers a real-surreal place in which to play. 

Ben Hughes’ lighting is inherent in the design, built into the landscape and shining like streams of starlight from the wings and the rig above. The side lighting is particularly effective as we settle into the rhythm of the play and watch the relationship dance across various universes, and immensely satisfying is the final effect, covering the floor with the constellations of the title. A swirling black hole exists out of sight and yet right under our noses, continuously appearing in segments during the repeated motifs, the impressive choreography of the performers (how are they finding their marks in the dark?!) incrementally leading Roland and Marianne toward their inevitable fate. Guy Webster’s original compositions and a salient soundscape take this production into another realm, sending us at the speed of light between alternate worlds, poignant moments.

Lucas Stibbard and Jessica Tovey are perfectly cast, generously offering beautifully nuanced, incredibly rich material to one another and making every second vividly real, despite the challenges, which are more often found in film, presented by so much repetition in the text. This play could easily be a disaster of monumental proportions, and boring to boot, but Director, Kat Henry, is in possession of directorial superpowers. She employs a couple of them by crafting just enough of each vignette (we see an extraordinary 59 – or is it 60 – scenes in all), giving the actors clear boundaries, literally, within the space, delineated by lines and light, and also enough space between these boundaries and the actors’ bodies in which to allow them room to recreate each part of the story in a fresh, new way. I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like it, certainly not on a Brisbane stage. And the blocking! (Because even within these scenes, driven by impulse, there is a certain amount of direction to get them to where they need to go). 

When speaking about working on this play on Broadway, Jake Gyllenhaal observed, “There’s no moment for autopilot. It demands a constant presence,” and while this is true of every acting job, Constellations showcases the incredible skill and highly attuned instinctual natures of these two performers. To put it in a film context again, it’s as if we’re seeing every single take during a shoot, but every single take is being captured for a different film, depending on the choices made by the characters (and by the actors embodying those characters). It’s next level Sliding Doors. Bravo, Kat Henry, for diving in so deeply. We’re able to plunge the depths of human existence with Roland and Marianne, and come up for air at the end of the night in a state of serene acceptance of the tragic circumstances because, as incredibly moving and devastating as this conclusion is, we completely understand the way everything just is…and always was and always will be.

Whether or not you’re a performer, Constellations is a masterclass in staying in the present moment, applying fearless choices and responding courageously, instinctually and intentionally to whatever’s happening in a given moment.

Constellations is astonishing work; it really could change your life.

Special Event
For two evenings only, do not miss the unique opportunity to attend a performance of this critically acclaimed play, accompanied by an onstage conversation between Constellations playwright Nick Payne and World Science Festival co-founder and physicist Brian Greene.  Following the performance, Nick Payne and Brian Greene will delve into our current understanding of the multiverse, the mysteries that remain, and why this theory captivated Payne’s imagination inspiring this theatrical tour de force. This exclusive event is a collaboration between World Science Festival Brisbane and Queensland Theatre. Book online



The Flick

The Flick

Queensland Theatre

QPAC & Red Stitch Actors

QPAC Cremorne

February 10 – March 5 2017

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward


One of the last old movie houses in America to use 35mm film, The Flick in Massachusetts, becomes a microcosm of the world when three young people show up to their shifts in their dead-end jobs. And that’s really all they’re doing; showing up and showing each other who they think they are and who/what/where they want to be when they “grow up”. We’re struck by their humanity, and the simple intimacies revealed in Annie Baker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning writing.

…she writes in a way there doesn’t seem to be one defining moment where that transition takes place. It’s more like you watch the play and you feel really moved, something shifts inside but you can’t pinpoint when it happens, really powerful, that’s more like life.

– Ngaire Dawn Faire

The Flick is acclaimed Director, Nadia Tass, honing in on the delicacy and vulnerability of the human condition, moving her actors through the space as if they belong there, as if they are really there and we are not. This is what theatre can be, and what fourth-wall theatre is supposed to be, but very often is not.

The run-down, down-and-out aesthetic is expertly, lovingly created by Shaun Gurton (set), David Parker (lighting), Russell Goldsmith (sound) and Daniel Nixon (sound & AV).


Featuring the exquisite talent and insight of Kevin Hofbauer (Avery), Ben Prendergast (Sam) and Ngaire Dawn Faire (Rose), with appearances by Dion Mills (Skylar / Dreaming Man), Tass’s production of The Flick was always going to be one of the most highly anticipated and richly rewarding plays in QT’s 2017 season. It exceeds expectations. 


When Rose appears in the golden light of the projection box I see her dark hair and her pointed chin and her pale skin and she’s my brother’s wife…ex-wife. But not. But hot tears stream down my cheeks anyway because I forgave her so long ago and never told her. And we loved her so much. Still, we love her. From across an ocean and right in the middle of all our lives, as humans do. And I take a breath, and when she reappears it’s through the old red swinging doors and onto the stage and into the brighter white ugly lights of the cinema between the seats, and she says something, which is funny, and we laugh, and the conversation and the scene continues, and she’s just, beautifully, Rose. It’s theatre. It finds a way to reach right into your heart and not let go if you let it.


In this way, incrementally, The Flick lures us in and holds us in space and time, a continuum that stretches across hours – 3 hours – and we don’t notice how long we’ve been sitting there, in the darkness, on the other side of the movie screen. The closing credits of each old film flicker above us, projected onto the ceiling of the Cremorne, each time indicating the break between sessions, during which the employees sweep the floor and take out the trash. It’s so ordinary and lovely and hopeful and silently , secretly devastating, and for me, a gentle reminder to value the people in our circles for whatever it is they have to offer. And what do we offer them? What value do we add to the lives of the people around us?


Avery joins the small circle of friends as a new employee, is shown the ropes by Sam, and they too become friends, picking up discarded popcorn together, discussing favourite films and marvelling over the projectionist, Rose. They play a neat game, citing the degrees of separation between two actors at a time. They quote Ezekiel 25:17 as per Pulp Fiction. They resell movie tickets to make their dinner money. When a love triangle develops, things get complicated, and when Sam has a weekend off to attend his brother’s wedding, things get more complicated. When Sam returns, the final outcome seems very simple and regrettable, and real. It’s fascinating, the way alliances form and dissolve, isn’t it? And I can’t imagine a more satisfying and disturbing ending to bring the message home. 

This is exceptional theatre, keeping us mesmerised on the edge of nothing other than the comedy and tragedy of the very ordinary, and leaving us with our own ordinary extraordinary lives and relationships to consider.




Queensland Theatre & Black Swan Theatre Company

QPAC Playhouse

November 12 – December 4 2016

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward


Queensland Theatre’s final production for the year is a co-pro with WA’s Black Swan Theatre Company, and Director Kate Cherry’s last for the company before she takes up the reins at NIDA. This delightfully fresh reimagining of Moliere’s Tartuffe has Black Swan stamped all over it, largely due to its clean, white, luxe, functional design by Richard Roberts. I love it. The orange accents not so much. Still, we could be in Sydney, or Noosa; it’s elegant, understated and stylishly lit (David Murray). The full revolve allows for seamless transitions and all the anticipated hiding-and-overhearing shenanigans of traditional farce, because as Roberts notes, a set designed for the best actors and directors should be “Like an adventure playground that allows kids to play imaginatively”. This is evident from the outset, with a raucous party appearing to be taking place. The music evolves as the set revolves (and the characters regress, misbehaving in all the best ways while the father is away), from an unsurprising baroque lilt to a surprisingly upbeat, very contemporary shake & stir style orchestration. And suddenly it dawns on us that this is simply the good, fun, wealthy life without apparent consequences, which we all (still) want to be living! And so the tone is set for a riotous take on this French classic.


A wonderfully funny scene has the maid, Dorine (Emily Weir) and the bride-to-be, Mariane (Tessa Lind), on the second floor balcony in a frenzied discussion about her limited options as the daughter of the house. The hysterical young girl, having been promised by her father to the titular character, a conceited con man, performs a little miracle of props mastery, both impressive and hilarious, taking urgent drags on a cigarette, chugging desperately from a champagne bottle and inhaling necessarily, her Ventolin, though not necessarily in that order. This is a fabulous scene Cherry has stitched up for Lind because Moliere gives her little else to do in the role except fawn over her lover, Valere (James Sweeney, the smartly dressed playboy/pool boy/Noosa Main Beach boy of the story, and somehow looking not a little unlike Rob Mills here. Not a bad thing…), and protest loudly to her father, Orgon (an infuriatingly upright Steven Turner in a perfectly pitched performance), re the match he’s made for her with the awful Tartuffe in his awful wig.


Tartuffe (Darren Gilshenan) is the easily recognisable, much lauded, and laughable spiritual guru, ghastly in every sense, sleazy and sneaky and suddenly the master of the house through his devious machinations and double standards. Orgon, incredulously, falls for his every word and allows him to have his way…almost. A short, rather silly but successful scene, in which Orgon’s wife (Alison van Reeken) is as sexy as Tartuffe is shallow, slimy and simpering, has Orgon hiding under a table at her insistence, until he deems the monster has gone far enough in the seduction of his wife to convince the poor, stupid man – FINALLY – that everything the family has told him is true, catching Tartuffe with his pants down.


Jenny Davis delivers an accomplished performance as the intolerant matriarch, Madame Pernelle, and Alex Williams takes the opportunity to claim the spotlight on more than one occasion as Damis (offering our second actors’ lesson for the evening in dealing with difficult props, as he rescues a runaway green apple and then has to use it until the scene’s end without creating further distraction. Hugh Parker, one of our faves, is a gallant-arrogant Cleante, perfectly balancing the scrutiny, wit and wisdom of this character with an appropriately unapologetic air of superiority. There’s a hint of Bottom the Weaver, as he instructs his players and whether a conscious choice or not, it works to endear us to him. The fans tend to feel endeared already towards him and we can look forward to seeing more from Parker in QT’s 2017 season.


But it’s the new QUT Fine Arts grad, Emily Weir, who neatly and boldly steals the show. Her comedy is so bold and witty, and precise, and for one so new to the table, she plays every hand like a seasoned pro, such a pleasure to watch. So much of her character comes through her gesture and facial expression, as the other characters interact around her, unwittingly perhaps making her the centre of their actions. She employs her full vocal range and incorporates a fantastically funny and irritating Australian nasal twang, playing with the language to extract the vivid colour of the piece and placing it smack bang in contemporary Australian money-not-necessarily-indicating-style suburbia.


Justin Fleming’s astute adaptation is the other star of the show, making the 17th Century text brand new again, retaining the original structure and adding without shame or apology, our favourite Australian colloquialisms. Fleming also delivers a more conclusive and satisfying end than the original, during which Parker shines again, in the fitting guise of a reporter for the ABC.

Kate Cherry’s cheeky, savvy, slick Tartuffe demonstrates the power of redressing the classics in a truly contemporary way, delivering timeless messages wrapped in timeless style.




MTC & Queensland Theatre

QPAC Playhouse

October 14 – November 6 2016

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward




Brené Brown


The moment Disgraced was over I wanted to see it again, right away. It’s the most challenging and confronting play of the year, electric and impossible to leave behind. It’s our past, our present and an opportunity to ponder our future. It serves our confirmation bias yet dares us to see beyond what we think we know and what we keep telling ourselves is important. In the most delightfully bold and entertaining way, Disgraced reinforces everything we’ve been led to believe we’ve got to be carefully taught…and everything we feel sure we’re yet to learn.

The pre-show jazz is deceptively upbeat and sexy, and with Shaun Gurton’s Upper East Side aesthetic, pristine and spacious, and Nigel Levings’ pointed lighting in front of us, we instantly find ourselves not in QPAC’s Playhouse but in a New York City apartment, looking out at the skyline. The mood is privileged, warm; the picture of a perfect life. A perfect couple’s passion is put on hold for the sake of a portrait and plans for a dinner party. Emily is an artist (Libby Munro), and Amir a lawyer (Hazam Shammas). They extend a dinner invitation to his colleague, Jory (Zindzi Okenyo), and Jory’s art dealer husband, Isaac (Mitchell Butel). What begins as a pleasant evening marks the end of an era for these friends. It’s an eventful night!


In this Pulitzer Prize winning text, Ayad Aktar tears open every racial and religious vein, leaving us bleeding on the floor with gaping wounds, our hearts in our mouths, and without answers on our tongues. You might be mistaken for thinking, at first glance, that over its 90 minutes Disgraced barely scrapes the surface of its ancient-current issues, but look closer. Make the decision to engage and really listen. The text is structured so that we get a hint of what’s coming and yet at every turn, at every spike, we’re met with a shocking, unexpected truth. It’s as if we’ve narrowly escaped saying something aloud ourselves during pre-dinner drinks, and we get to stay standing safely on the edge of the group, watching while somebody else squirms in discomfort for committing what might just as easily have been our own social sin.

Hazem Shammas is Amir, the Pakistani-Muslim carving out his success in New York by hiding his heritage to fit in and get ahead in a Jewish law firm. Having recently binge-watched The Fall, I’m reminded that we never completely know someone. The ordinary behaviour packaged neatly within our everyday routines and the original affection we may have felt for a person hides more than we care to uncover, often to the detriment of our own self-discovery, and our mental, emotional and physical state. Shammas fully embraces the complexities of this role, making empathy a possibility and distrust a certainty.


Libby Munro (Grounded, Venus In Fur) worked with this cast for just 2 weeks after seeing the show in Melbourne, and with Director, Nadia Tass, for three hours the week before opening in Brisbane. Munro’s Emily, the white American artist and wife of Amir, is the voice of reason, vulnerability and compassion, exposing enough discrepancies in the popular diatribe to prompt our many questions (and make us think twice before posing them to the opening night after party friends). She is also the figure of appropriation – or misappropriation, depending on your perspective – and with these gentle prods and pokes towards the race, religion and gender politics at play, Munro is striking; poised and precise, and perfectly placed within this stellar cast. When she unravels and suddenly begins to shrink, almost disappearing before our eyes (an incredible accomplishment for an actor, to give up the space and the light and let oneself become less present whilst staying completely present in the story), we’re in the room with her. And we want to leave with her. You can guess the moment. The older woman in front of me gasps, she’s visibly shaken… I wonder, did she read the trigger warning? I also wonder, do we need a trigger warning? Imagine the impact of the truly unexpected! (And the further impact of a perfectly choreographed and executed strike! This far into the season, I’m sure the moment has been remedied). In this role, we see Munro continue to work quietly and humbly at presenting intelligent, fearless, unforgettable women on our stages. This is no rave, it’s just the simple truth, which you can see for yourself. There is no one else on the Australian stage consistently nailing the strength and softness of a woman as well as Munro; she’s in a league of her own. What a complete contrast she must offer in the upcoming award winning one shot independent feature film EIGHT. I can’t wait to see this next incredible work. 


Likewise, Zindzi Okenyo, brings a fierce, self-assured energy into the space as Jory, the lawyer wife of the art dealer, Isaac (Mitchell Butel). With magnificent strength and grace Okenyo’s performance offers another lens, and plenty of razor sharp one-liners in case we forget to remember the history of the black percentage of America’s population. With perfect comic timing and scene stealing stage presence, Mitch Butel is one of the country’s most relaxed and dynamic performers, a superb Isaac. He’s a cliche but he’s not, he’s a Jew but he’s not, he’s afraid but he’s not; he’s a complete anomaly, playing by the rules and pushing all the buttons.


And then there is Abe. As Amir’s nephew, Kane Felsinger represents the worst of humankind: the angry, politically engaged minority, determined to make his mark on the world by transforming it into the vision he’s gleaned from the descriptions found in the Quran. It would be easy to slip into a caricature but Felsinger resists and only gradually allows the true nature of his character to seep through, affecting and alarming us by degrees. His final moments harden us against the stereotype. My heart plunges into my stomach – I feel physically sick – and I wonder what on earth is the writer playing at? Abe represents the extreme violence we’ve been taught to fear. The shock and sadness and confusion and compassion that sweeps across Munro’s face as the final difficult conversation plays out in front of her mirrors my conflicting thoughts and feelings.

The beauty of Akhtar’s text is the ugliness in it and Tass, always the actors’ director, delves courageously into the intricacies and nuances of each human being and their deeply felt – and sadly marred – connections with one another. They are each as real and as flawed as they can be. They insist on blaming and shaming and yet expect to come out unscathed. They are beautifully, brilliantly thrown together into a melting pot that serves to shame us too, or else inspire us (you decide), into making choices every single day that derive from a place of love and empathy, rather than from ignorance and hate and fear. 

Disgraced is a pleasure, a power, and a terror; a terrible and timely reminder that nothing changes unless we show up, speak the words and take decisive and committed action to change what we cannot abide to see in our world.


St Mary’s In Exile

St Mary’s In Exile

Queensland Theatre Company

Bille Brown Studio

August 27 – September 25 2016

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward


I have stillness.

Peter Kennedy, St Mary’s In Exile

How powerful is truth? How profound? How necessary?

An urgent, new, local story, impeccably researched and superbly shaped by local writer, David Burton, reveals the tiny detail in the big news of the Catholic Church in 2009. It’s a monumental story that you didn’t know you needed to know. An intimate and explosive production, St Mary’s In Exile puts us right in the middle of highly controversial real-life events as they occur in the retelling.


The tale is presented without bias and at times we’re shocked to feel, for half a moment, that the Church representatives from their perspectives may have a point, however; from the perspective of the tight-knit community (and most of the rest of the world) their views seem obtuse and outdated. (A razor sharp, highly entertaining QANDA segment brilliantly summarises all sides of the story before sending one camera down the rabbit hole before the scene ends with a bang. It’s weird, it’s current, it’s meta…and it works). 


By framing the tale within a single stormy storytelling evening when Peter Kennedy, excommunicated from the Catholic Church, must finally leave the premises, we’re able to view events through a retrospective lens and also, see the action take place in real time.

Anthony Spinaze’s spare design works so beautifully in the space it almost looks as if it’s a permanent part of the Bille Brown Studio, despite the concrete and slate and well worn, grubby carpet in the set, which is certainly not in keeping with the clean and cosy style of Queensland Theatre, but authentic in its representation of the little church around the corner. Daniel Anderson’s evocative lighting and Justin Harrison’s moody, stormy sound design take us in and out of time and across the mind and heart and soul of ex-Father Peter Kennedy (Peter Marshall) as this unbelievable story is retold one stormy night to a mysterious homeless man (Ben Warren).


I’m not Catholic. I didn’t know the story of St Mary’s. I missed the headlines when the diverse-as-the-lamb-ad-backlash congregation of St Mary’s left the building located just 300 metres from the rebranded Queensland Theatre building and moved to Peel Street in the most dramatic schism since the 11th Century. Still meeting in the Trades and Labor Council building today, these are the several hundred loyal, enlightened followers and friends of Peter Kennedy.

It seems so bizarre that these events actually happened, that people actually caused such a fuss over a Buddha statue in the foyer, or the blessing of same sex couples, or women in the pulpit, and that the Catholic Church kicked up the biggest stink of all. This play nails it – the problems brought about by the media circus and organised religion as opposed to genuine faith, and the ways in which individuals are most affected. Why not live and let live, tolerate those who do no harm to others, and move through the world peacefully? It’s easier than people make it out to be. This play doesn’t need to spell it out, but simply introduces characters who are trying to do just that.


The performances are moving, the characters connected and interconnected, the relationships within this ensemble shaped with care by director, Jason Klarwein, and honoured by actors Chenoa Deemal, Joss McWilliam, Kevin Spink and Luisa Prosser. It’s a strong cast with stand out performances from Peter Marshall as the compassionate Peter Kennedy and Bryan Probets as Joseph. One of Brisbane’s favourites, Probets embraces the vulnerability, despair and devotion of this character so ably we see someone we hope never to recognise in real life and yet, these people, the most vulnerable of all, exist, if only we look around and open our eyes and arms and hearts to them. It feels as if each character is someone we already know, and of course there are those who really do, or really did, know these people. (Peter Kennedy attended opening night). They are so real, so beautifully drawn from life; we see right into their heads and hearts. We feel a part of this little congregation. We feel the enormous injustice against them. We’re fully invested from the start and we’re reminded by the end, we have a responsibility to help make things right. Can we all walk away and help make things right?

Burton’s new play is powerful; it’s good, quiet, humbly world-changing theatre that gets in early on Sam Strong’s mantra for the 2017 season. Deserving of a place in the Australian canon, St Mary’s In Exile sees the company proudly #leadingfromqueensland




That’s the stillness. That’s the peace. Words get in the way, but … I know it. Freedom is knowing everybody’s right and everybody’s wrong and it doesn’t matter. It’s funny. It’s the Buddha laughing. It’s a joyful thing. And it’s the only place to find peace. 

Peter Kennedy, St Mary’s In Exile


Queensland Theatre – The Best of 2013

Queensland Theatre – The Best of 2013




Before 2014 really gets started (I know! It already has! Is it really nearly February?), I thought I’d post this. If you’re new to my blog, welcome! And welcome back, old friends! Sam and I are so busy already this year, with far too many events to tell you about here; an XS Update will have to come next! This post is just to take a moment to look at what we saw last year…and it was more than I thought!



XS Entertainment reviews theatre in Queensland. By Queensland we actually mean Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. And by reviews theatre we mean responds to theatre. Occasionally, when we get the chance to travel, we write up the productions we see elsewhere. (Only very occasionally because, as you see from my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feeds, my other roles in life are FOODIE, TOURIST, SHOPPER, FRIEND, WIFE & MAMA)… #xsneverstops #theadventuresofpoppy


This is the first time in five years of seeing a lot of theatre (I’ve been blogging about it for three), that I’ve actually considered how many productions we’ve managed to get to in a year! (Did I miss any? Let me know, below in the comments). It just goes to show how much good stuff is going on, especially in Brisbane.



Now look, it would take even longer to include the links to our reviews here (and I wanted to post this before QTC’s first show of their 2014 season AUSTRALIA DAY) so if you want to re-read something, search the title of the production using the Search bar to bring up any posts that make mention of the show you’re looking for.


You’ll see that in 2013 we had a great deal of help from our fantastic team of reviewers, so that we could cover as much as possible. My sincere thanks to the producers, presenters, publicists and venues who made that possible. And biggest thanks and love to our stellar team of reviewers! If you’d like to join the team and review some live theatre in 2014 (Gold Coast and Toowoomba peeps, I’m looking at YOU!), do send your bio and writing samples to


We don’t do awards but does so you can nominate, and then vote for, your favourite creatives here


Also, I have news about another lot of awards, which I can’t tell you about yet! #sorrynotsorry #vagueblogging


In the meantime, check out the 2013 Sydney Theatre Award winners and consider the merit of awarding any “achievement” in the arts… What do you really think about awarding our artists?



So sans trophies and titles, here are my favourite productions, in no particular order, from 2013


Venus in Fur – QTC (QPAC)

Other Desert Cities – Black Swan Theatre Co (QPAC)

The Mountaintop – MTC (I know, it was a MELBOURNE THEATRE COMPANY production and it was one of the best of 2013 so I’m taking the liberty of including it here. I can’t wait to see what QTC do with it this year).

Animal Farm – shake & stir (QPAC)

Tequila Mockingbird – shake & stir (QPAC)

Rumour Has It: Sixty Minutes Inside Adele – The Little Red Company

(Judith Wright Centre)

Motherland – Ellen Belloo & Metro Arts (Metro Arts)

White Rabbit Red Rabbit – WTF (Brisbane Powerhouse)

Le Foulard – (Brisbane Powerhouse)

Driving Miss Daisy (QPAC)




FOOD – La Boite (La Boite)

Meow Meow – Noosa Long Weekend Festival (The J)

Strange Attractor – SRT & Noosa Arts Theatre (Noosa Arts Theatre)

West Side Story – Noosa Arts Theatre (Noosa Arts Theatre)

The Pitch & The China Incident – QTC (QPAC)

I Heart Alice Heart I – WTF (Brisbane Powerhouse)

Carmen Sweet – EDC (QPAC)

Slava’s Snowshow – (QPAC)

ARGUS – Dead Puppet Society & Powerkidz (Brisbane Powerhouse)


This is the theatre XS Entertainment saw in 2013



South Pacific – Gordon Frost Organisation (QPAC)

Out Damn Snot! – shake & stir (La Boite)

Strange Attractor – SRT & Noosa Arts Theatre (Noosa Arts Theatre)

The Illusionists – Tim Lawson (QPAC) (Meredith McLean)


Lisa McCune & Teddy Tahu Rhodes. Image by Jeff Busby.



The Pirate Show – XS Entertainment (See Function Centre)

A Night With The Mob – XS Entertainment & Free Spirit Entertainment (Sol Bar)

Driving Miss Daisy – (QPAC)

A Doll House – WTF & (Brisbane Powerhouse)

Parah – WTF & (Brisbane Powerhouse)

The Pitch and The China Incident – QTC (QPAC)

The Economist – WTF & MKA (Brisbane Powerhouse)

White Rabbit Red Rabbit – WTF & (Brisbane Powerhouse)

Holding The Man – La Boite (La Boite)

Gob Squad’s Kitchen – WTF & (Brisbane Powerhouse)

I Heart Alice Heart I – WTF & (Brisbane Powerhouse)

The Last Supper – WTF & (Brisbane Powerhouse)

Propel – EDC (Bille Brown Studio)





Matilda Awards – Matilda Committee & Gardens Theatre (Gardens Theatre)

Cavalia – Normand Latourelle (The White Big Top)

End of the Rainbow – QTC (QPAC)

Legally Blonde – (QPAC)

SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody – AB Presents (Twelfth Night Theatre)

Veronica’s Room – Lind Lane Theatre (The Lind)

Travels With My Aunt – Noosa Arts Theatre (Noosa Arts Theatre)

Infinite Space – Melbourne Ballet Co (Nambour Civic Centre)

Tell Me On A Sunday – Harvest Rain (Mina Parade) (Michelle Bull)

Escape From The Breakup Forest – Mixtape Theatre Collective (Judith Wright Centre) (Meredith McLean)


Christen O'Leary



Herstory – Imogen Kelly & Judith Wright Centre (Judith Wright Centre)

Legally Blonde – Ambassador Theatre Group & John Frost (QPAC)

The Orange Grove – Sue Davis & Noosa Arts Theatre (Noosa Arts Theatre)

FOOD – La Boite (La Boite)

Next To Normal – Oscar Theatre Co & QPAC (QPAC)

Le Foulard – Brisbane Powerhouse (Brisbane Powerhouse)

Rumour Has It: Sixty Minutes Inside Adele (The Little Red Company) (Judith Wright Centre)

The Poof Downstairs (Powerhouse) (Guy Frawley)





Hot Shoe Shuffle – David Atkins Enterprises (QPAC) (Stephanie Brown)

A Tender Thing – (Brisbane Powerhouse)

The Pirate Show – XS Entertainment (See Function Centre)

The BFG – Inside Out Theatre Co (The Lind)

The DAM(N) Project – (Qld Con)

Animal Farm – shake & stir (QPAC)

Sons of Sin – The Danger Ensemble & Judith Wright Centre (Judith Wright


Guys and Dolls – MFAC (Matthew Flinders Performance Centre)

National One-Act Playwriting Competition Noosa One-Act Play Festival – Noosa

Arts Theatre & Noosa Long Weekend (Noosa Arts Theatre)

Mother Courage and Her Children – QTC (QPAC) (Meredith McLean)

A Clockwork Orange – Action to the Word (QPAC) (Meg Ham)

The Ten Tenors – (Guy Frawley)

The Séance – La Boite Indie (La Boite) (Meredith McLean)

UTA Uber Kool Ja – (Guy Frawley)

Of the Causes of Wonderful Things (Powerhouse) (Guy Frawley)

Perfect Tripod (Powerhouse) Guy Frawley

Briefs: The Second Coming (Powerhouse) (Guy Frawley)





4 Seasons In 1 Night Starring Bobby Fox – Noosa Long Weekend Festival (The J)

Circa Zoo: Wonderland – Noosa Long Weekend Festival (The J)

Tom Sharah: It’s Raining Me – Noosa Long Weekend Festival (The J)

Julie, Madly, Deeply – Noosa Long Weekend Festival (The J)

Que-Reste-t’il? Starring Robyn Archer – Noosa Long Weekend Festival (The J)

Happiness – Noosa Long Weekend Festival (The J)

Carmen Suite and R&J – Noosa Long Weekend Festival (The J)

Chaplin – Noosa Long Weekend Festival (The J)

Meow Meow – Noosa Long Weekend Festival (The J)

Rumour Has It: Sixty Minutes Inside Adele – Noosa Long Weekend Festival

(berardo’s restaurant and bar)

Mrs Bang Is Back! – Noosa Long Weekend Festival (berardo’s restaurant and


Noosa Long Weekend Festival Highlights – Noosa Long Weekend Festival (The


Slava’s Snowshow – (QPAC)

Venus In Fur – QTC (QPAC)

ARGUS – Dead Puppet Society & Powerkidz (Brisbane Powerhouse)

Maureen O’Hara Spends A Quiet Night At Home (The Judy) (Guy Frawley)

Belladiva’s Aria Moderna (Brisbane Anywhere Festival at the State Library)

(Guy Frawley)

Jesus Christ Superstar (Brisbane Entertainment Centre)

Blaque Bordello – ACPA (Judith Wright Centre)


mrsbang-111 HIGH RES


The Lost Property Rules – QTC (Bille Brown Studio)

Mrs Warren’s Profession – STC (STC)

The Maids – STC (STC)

Little Orphan TrAshley – (Brisbane Powerhouse)

1001 Nights – Zen Zen Zo & QTC (Bille Brown Studio)

Songs For a New World – Tipoki Productions (The Lind)

Young Frankenstein – PAK (The Lind)

Babushka: I Can Keep A Secret (Guy Frawley)

Show Me Yours, I’ll Show You Mine – La Boite Indie (La Boite) (Meredith McLean)

Joy, Fear & Poetry – La Boite Indie (The Loft) (Meredith McLean)

A New Way to Pay Old Debts – Brisbane Arts Theatre (Brisbane Arts Theatre)

(Meredith McLean)

The Lady of the House – (Metro Arts) (Guy Frawley)

BLAK – Bangarra (QPAC) (Meredith McLean)

Don’ts For Dancers – (Judith Wright Centre) (Simone Mutimer)





Little Shop of Horrors – BYTE (Buderim Memorial Hall)

Other Desert Cities – Black Swan & QTC (QPAC)

Tequila Mockingbird – shake & stir (QPAC)

Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival – Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance (Buderim

Memorial Hall)

The Glass Menagerie – La Boite (La Boite)

Double Think – Brisbane Powerhouse (Brisbane Powerhouse) (Meredith


Confessions of a Control Freak – (Judith Wright Centre) (Meredith Walker)

Blood Brothers – Harvest Rain & QPAC (QPAC) (Guy Frawley)

Taylor Mac – Brisbane Powerhouse (Brisbane Powerhouse) (Simone Mutimer)




West Side Story – Noosa Arts Theatre (Noosa Arts Theatre)

Leo – Brisbane Festival & Arts Projects Australia (Brisbane Powerhouse) (Guy


The Wizard of Oz – Brisbane Festival & La Boite (La Boite) (Guy Frawley)

Aurelian – Brisbane Festival & Metro Arts (Metro Arts) (Meredith McLean)

When Time Stops – EDC (QPAC) (Meredith Walker)

In Vogue: Songs by Madonna – Brisbane Powerhouse (Brisbane Powerhouse)

(Jenn J)

Opus (Brisbane Festival – Brisbane Powerhouse)


WSS_AS8_6941 (3) Credit Andrew Seymour



Daisy Pulls It Off – SRT & BATS (Buderim Memorial Hall)

Women In Voice: 20 Years – Red Chair, Annie Peterson & Judith Wright Centre

(Judith Wright Centre)

Adrift In Macau – Coolum Theatre Players (Coolum Civic Centre)

Our Turn! Griffith University Queensland Conservatorium Final Year Musical

Theatre Showcase – Griffith University & Queensland Conservatorium (QPAC)

Design For Living – QTC (QPAC)

QSO with Katie Noonan – QSO (QSO Studio)

Motherland – Ellen Barloo & Metro arts (Metro Arts)

Carmen Sweet– EDC (QPAC)

Grindr: A Love Story (Brisbane Powerhouse) (Guy Frawley)

School For Scandal – heartBeast (Trinity Church Hall) (Meredith McLean)

Connect Four – Alanya Bridge & Metro Arts (Metro Arts) (Meredith Walker)

Statespeare – shake & stir (Brisbane Powerhouse) (Meredith McLean)

Autobahn – Underground Productions (Schonell) (Meredith McLean)





The Beast – MTC (MTC Sumner Theatre)

King Kong – Marriner Group (The Regent)

The Mountaintop – MTC (MTC Fairfax Studio)

Prehistoric – Elbow Room & Metro Arts (Metro Arts)

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – Tim Lawson (QPAC)

An Oriana Christmas – Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir (Maleny Community Hall)

The Dark Party – The Dirty Brothers & Judith Wright Centre (Judith Wright

Centre) (Josh Kirwan)

Frankenstein – National Theatre Live (Noosa Arts Theatre) (Josh Kirwan)

Spring Awakening – Risk Theatre (La Boite) (Meredith Walker)

><R&J – La Boite Indie (La Boite) (Meredith McLean)

DUST Hubcap Productions & Brisbane Powerhouse (Brisbane Powerhouse)

(Meredith Walker)





NT Live’s Hamlet – National Theatre (Noosa Arts Theatre)

Circa Zoo – Circa & Judith Wright Centre (Judith Wright Centre)

Kupka’s Piano (Judith Wright Centre) (Guy Frawley)

Tom Sharah: It’s Raining Me (Brisbane Powerhouse)

Amy Housewine: Back to Crack (Brisbane Powerhouse)

NT Live’s 50 Years On Stage – National Theatre (Noosa Arts Theatre)

Rumour Has It: Sixty Minutes Inside Adele Return Season – The Little Red

Company (Judith Wright Centre)

Woodford Folk Festival – Woodford Folk Festival (Woodfordia)

CROSS-Stitch – Metro Arts (Metro Arts) (Meredith Walker)

A Murder Is Announced – Louse Withers & Associates (QPAC) (Meredith




Remember, if you feel strongly about what you saw in 2013 go ahead and comment below, and then nominate (and vote for) your favourite artists and productions over at for the 4th





Matilda Awards 2012 – Winners Announced!

Rumour Has It: Sixty Minutes Inside Adele

Congratulations to the 2012 Matilda Award nominees and winners, announced last night at Gardens Theatre to an audience of 350 theatre makers, by the hostess with the mostess, ADELE aka the extraordinarily talented Naomi Price, who boldly and brassily managed to mention aloud every possible aspect of local industry that would ordinarily be left unsaid, leaving the crowd in stitches!


We also heard from the Minister for the Arts, Ian Walker (“He’s already doing better than the last one ’cause he’s fucking HERE!”), Cr Krista Adams, and the inspirational, incomparable Caroline Kennison about her win over breast cancer, and the women who continue to inspire her. I cannot begin to describe to you the feeling in the room when Caroline was introduced, suffice to say the room filled with love and admiration for this woman. Similarly, when Helen Howard and later, Margi Brown Ash took to the stage to accept their awards, the generous applause and vocal appreciation for these extraordinary women was overwhelming. Of course the guys received no less love, and it was rather special to have the Bille Brown Best Emerging Artist Award added to the mix, with Lizzie Ballinger being the inaugural recipient.



Big props to Rosemary Walker and the Matilda Committee for putting on such a great show – it gets better and better each year – so that we can come together and celebrate our theatrical community in style!

In the past, the Matilda Awards have battled to be taken seriously and, although they are still so obviously Brisbane-centric, it’s also true that a lot of the best work is happening in the city. If it’s not, it needs to be, in order to be seen by the Matilda panel, and arguably, by the more discerning audiences. Regional theatre makers, you know it’s always been so, so if awards and the street cred that comes with them now are important to you, you’d better get your show on the road and into a Brisbane theatre.



Bryan Probets


Simone Romaniuk


Helen Howard

David Walters

Margi Brown Ash





Best Mainstage Production
by Queensland Theatre Company


A Tribute of Sorts

Best New Australian Work
by Benjamin Schostakowski



A Tribute of Sorts

Best Independent Production
by Benjamin Schostakowski


Dash Kruck

Best Male Actor in a Leading Role
in A Tribute of Sorts


Emily Curtin

Best Female Actor in a Leading Role
in A Tribute of Sorts


Bryan Probets

Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role
in As You Like It


Louise Brehmer & Luisa Prosser

Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role
in Thérèse Raquin


Therese Raquin

Helen Howard

Best Director
for Thérèse Raquin


Simone Romaniuk

Best Design
for Kelly

Lizzie Ballinger

Bille Brown Award: Best Emerging Artist
for Thérèse Raquin


Roxanne McDonald

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Career Achievement Award


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