Posts Tagged ‘rob mills


Rob Mills Is…Surprisingly Good


Rob Mills Is…Surprisingly Good

Brisbane Powerhouse, Queensland Cabaret Festival

& Mackay Entertainment And Convention Centre

Powerhouse Theatre

Sunday June 14 2015


 Reviewed by Xanthe Coward




Rob Mills Is…Surprisingly Good. It’s a humble, slightly bemused premise on which to base a show (they’re the words of critics of course), and it works. Mills is sensational, surprising East Coast audiences with his self-deprecating humour, natural musical ability and charisma. Anyone who has seen Mills in a musical theatre production, as Jamie (The Last Five Years), Fiyero (Wicked), Warner (Legally Blonde) or Danny (Grease), won’t be nearly as surprised as the rest. Again, this time within the challenging realm of cabaret, Mills shows his mettle.


I loved how they put the word grease in the hair of the logo. It made it exciting as soon as we sat down. The direction was beautiful and the song Sandy almost made me cry in Mum’s lap. Sandy is a beautiful song and Rob Mills sang it perfectly. I’m sure I saw the movie, but I thought this version was much better than the movie.


– Poppy Eponine


robmillsparishiltonThe “not really a Rodgers and Hammerstein kind of guy” clearly has a ball sharing his personal stories, which stem from a childhood of singing and playing guitar, and a heap of pub gigs followed by his 15 minutes thanks to Australian Idol, and an eclectic assortment of rock songs and musical theatre faves. The show is loosely based around notions of Dancing Through Life (Wicked), [He] Knew You Were Trouble (Taylor Swift) and finding one’s Purpose (Avenue Q).


We’ve seen and heard a lot from Mills via TV and THOSE headlines, and he doesn’t shy away from any of it, in fact he relishes all of it (even a boy band medley moment, which is GOLD); he reminisces and laughs with us.



He’s unashamed and beyond reproach. He’s dancing through life, and why not?


Striking the perfect note, Mills opens with Live in Living Colour (Catch Me If You Can). He is at once disarmingly cute, irresistibly charismatic…although he takes a few minutes to comfortably settle into the space.


The Powerhouse Theatre is a good deal bigger than the intimate surrounds of RACV Noosa Resort for example, which is where you’ll catch him next, in a Supper Club version of the show during Noosa Long Weekend Festival after a final performance this weekend in Melbourne.


There are some static moments, easily fixed by a deep breath, a bolt of confidence and consistent pace (the show picks up after the whole Paris tryst bit), and I feel like the more intimate venues, which allow a closer connection with the audience, will serve Mills well. It’s as if this show has come too soon and also, at precisely the right time for Mills. His gorgeous larrikin characters from musical theatre are somehow at odds with the Rob Mills he professes he wants to be seen as. So there’s clearly another show in this, but it will need to be revealed through the execution of this one.






Penned by Mills and Natalie Garonzi, and directed by Tyran Parke, Mills and his hot band (hello, Kuki Tipoki!), led by MD Andrew Worboys, impress and delight the Queensland Cabaret Festival crowd.


A final cheeky appearance in the tight white pants of Fiyero seals the deal, in case we weren’t already, er, enamoured. The audacity and cheek of this increasingly confident performer even wins over sceptical Sam, who’s relinquished his +1 role many times, missing some previous performances about which Poppy and I have raved. After the show too, handing out “Surprisingly Good” buttons and posing for selfies by the bar, Mills proves he has the goods to stay at the top of the entertainment tree. So I think it’s time we dropped the “surprisingly good” and acknowledged that Rob Mills is sensational! I’ll look forward to seeing this show again, and whatever it is that must come after it.





Queensland Cabaret Festival opens tonight!


We’re sending the lucky winners of our double passes to ABSINTHE tonight!

Have fun, Chris, Tara and Gail!


Meanwhile, in New Farm…



Queensland Cabaret Festival opens at Brisbane Powerhouse TONIGHT!






Tonight’s Voices of Vice lineup features a mouth-watering feast of festival performers and local legends including Bethan Ellsmore, Dirty Sexy Politics, Cienda McNamara, Tyrone Noonan, Alison St Ledger, Lizzie Moore, Sandro Colarelli, Greg Bird, Rebecca Grennan, David Megarrity and Bridget Boyle.



Feel free to flaunt your bad habits, perversions, and licentiousness in our den of iniquity where too much is never enough. Indulge in this celebration of tantalising transgressions, which are guaranteed to be delightful, delicious and a little bit wrong.



BPH_QCF_Queen_of_the_Night_1_2015-1178x663 BPH_QCF_Vegas_Standards_1_20151-1178x663

In the immortal words of Tom Waits, “There ain’t no Devil, there’s just God when he’s drunk” so leave your better angels at the door – we won’t tell if you won’t!






















Guy Frawley caught up with the GREASE gang in the lead up to opening night. Guy loved the show and we did too. I defy anyone to not enjoy it!

You can read Poppy’s Perspective at the end of the week (there is school in the meantime…for us both!).

Now that the show has opened you’d better book! It’s a sell-out!


40 years after the first Australian production, producer John Frost is bringing back the “number 1 party musical” for a three-stop tour around Australia. Having opened on Sunday in Brisbane, the show is set to run for several weeks at QPAC’s Lyric Theatre before opening in Sydney (October 13th) and Melbourne (January 2nd).


The current version of the much loved musical is a direct transfer from London’s West End and explodes onto the stage with dazzling sets, bright costumes and a cast so bursting with energy and enthusiasm it’s impossible to look away. From the moment the band strikes up with the first bars until well after the show is over you’ll be humming along to the familiar soundtrack and wishing there was a re-wind button to give you the chance to relive the numbers over and over again.


We all know the songs and the story (whose childhood didn’t include endless reruns of the Paramount film?) and I’m sure that most of you will have seen the show before in a previous incarnation. But it’s the cast that keeps this show fresh and will keep you cheering for more when the final curtain closes.




Like John Travolta and Richard Gere who both made their break into professional theatre with minor roles in Grease before winning the role of Danny, Rob Mills was first seen in Grease back in the 2005 Arena Spectacular as Johnny Casino.

“It was great fun, but I always wanted to be a T-Bird during that production!” said Mills about his previous role.


After a month of rehearsals it’s obvious how excited both Rob Mills and Gretel Scarlet (Sandy) are to be playing to a live audience “I think just having the first audience in has been the highlight for me so far” he enthused and Scarlet was quick to agree “It’s just getting better and better every show…. We rely a lot on the audience in this show for comedy, for fun, for the vibe so it’s great to get out there on stage and to feel like we’re upping the ante each time.”




This is the sixth time that Frost has produced Grease and it looks like he has the casting down to a fine art, with the production crew assembling a cast, each and every one of whom appears to have been born to play their roles. They might make it look effortless on stage, but Gretel Scarlet makes it clear that winning their roles was no small feat “It was intense, my audition went over two weeks and 5 or 6 call backs…there was a panel of 10 producers and it kept going and going from there, it was a big process!”.




Bert Newton as Vince Fontaine, Val Lehman as Miss Lynch, Anthony Callea as Johnny Casino and Todd McKenney as Teen Angel have all been cast for star power and they all shine as brightly as you’d expect. McKenney as Teen Angel especially brought the house down in Beauty School Dropout leaving the audience screaming with applause, moments after they’d been screaming with laughter.


There are just 6 weeks of shows left before Grease must close in Brisbane and move south, tickets a selling fast so hand jive onto the QPAC website and book yourself tickets to the best rock’n’roll party in town.



Grease is the word!


GREASE is still the word, as Australian theatre producer John Frost yesterday revealed the cast and tour dates for his new multi-million dollar production of GREASE, which will open as an Australian premiere at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) on 27 August 2013.


In the lead roles of Danny and Sandy are musical theatre favourite Rob Mills and rising star Gretel Scarlett. Rob Mills made a name for himself in musical theatre performing Fiyero in the Broadway blockbuster Wicked in Melbourne and Sydney for two years, and will join GREASE after starring as Warner Huntington III in the hit musical Legally Blonde in Brisbane and Melbourne. Gretel Scarlett, who is a Queenslander, has played support roles in Wicked and Mamma Mia! and is excited to take on her first starring role.


Bert Newton returns to his radio roots to play the role of slick veteran disc jockey Vince Fontaine, while Todd McKenney dusts off his dancing shoes to star as Teen Angel, the good-looking, falsetto-voiced, Fabian lookalike. The role of All-American, rock-star student at Rydell High, Johnny Casino, has gone to Anthony Callea, returning to the musical theatre stage after success in Rent and Wicked.


Rizzo, the leader of the Pink Ladies, will be played by Lucy Maunder (Dr Zhivago, The Threepenny Opera), and Kenickie will be played by Stephen Mahy (Jersey Boys, I Will Survive). The cast also includes Francine Cain (Frenchy), Chris Durling (Doody), Sam Ludeman (Sonny), Duane McGregor (Roger) and Laura Murphy (Jan).


GREASE is one of my favourite musicals, and with this top draw cast of musical theatre stars I have no doubt it will again be everyone’s favourite party musical,” John Frost said.


John Frost continued “I’m thrilled that Rob Mills will be our Danny, straight from his success in Legally Blonde, and that we have found a new leading lady in Gretel Scarlett. Both Rob and Gretel gave sensational auditions, and our UK creative team knew instantly that they were the ideal Danny and Sandy. And it’s wonderful again to be working with the wonderful Todd McKenney, the talented Anthony Callea and, for our sixth musical together, the irrepressible Bert Newton. What can I say about this cast – You’re The One That I Want!”


GREASE will open at QPAC’s Lyric Theatre Brisbane on August 27, with seasons to follow at the Sydney Lyric Theatre from October 13, and at her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne from January 2, 2014.


Grease. Image by Damian Shaw.

GREASE is the Number One Party musical, featuring all the unforgettable songs from the hit movie including You’re The One That I Want, Grease Is The Word, Summer Nights, Hopelessly Devoted To You, Sandy, Greased Lightnin’ and many more.


So get ready to dust off your leather jackets, pull on your bobby-socks and take a trip to a simpler time as ‘bad boy’ Danny and ‘the girl next door’ Sandy fall in love all over again.


Tickets on sale from Monday 8 April at 9.00am. To book go to or phone 136 246



Legally Blonde the Musical

Legally Blonde The Musical

Music & Lyrcs by Lawrence O’Keefe & Nell Benjamin.
Book by Heather Hach

Ambassador Theatre Group & John Frost

QPAC Lyric Theatre

19th March – 21st April 2013


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward


Legally Blonde Opening Night

If you’re  following us on Instagram and/or Twitter, you probably had a say in which opening night dress I selected! This was the more elegant of the three, from Sunshine Coast vintage specialists in Mooloolaba Retournez-vous. Thanks girls! Image by Glowbored


“You never have to compromise.” Elle Woods


If I was to tell you you’d care deeply about the plight of a gorgeous blonde 4.0 Delta Nu Porsche-driving president who comes complete with a killer wardrobe and obligatory small dog, you’d …….laugh, right? Heather Hach



Omigod You Guys! Mad props to everybody involved! I LOVED Legally Blonde The Musical! Not only did it deliver on every single promise, it did so in STYLE! The sort of style Elle Woods would be proud of! I admit, I was dubious after the friends and live-tweeters at last week’s previews questioned the show’s saccharine sweetness, but this is largely what I loved on Thursday night; the show is unquestionably sweet!


So Much Better than the movie – sorry Reese but it is – the musical is fun, uplifting and surprisingly powerful in its light delivery of many heartfelt messages, which seem at first to be very thinly veiled, that is, until Elle succeeds in following her heart and ends up in the right place with the right friends and the right man. See? Sweet! Lucy Durack is the ideal Elle (she auditioned for 8 months to prove it to producers!), and without a hint of Glinda – okay, maybe just a hint – Durack is proving to audiences once again what makes her one of the hardest working (with a fractured foot on opening night!), and best loved leading ladies in the Australian musical theatre scene. She’s simply glorious as Elle Woods; full of joy, vulnerability, ambition and optimism, as befits the character, and it’s hard to take our eyes off her.


Blonde_web5_t620Hot on her heels though, are Helen Dallimore, the powerhouse voiced Paulette with perfect comic timing, and Erika Heynatz, the model-turned-television-presenter-turned-triple-threat! As Brooke Wyndham, Heynatz stops the show with Whipped Into Shape, making singing while speed skipping look like child’s play (and yes, I had already promised Poppy, when we watched the (MTV) Broadway footage online, that we’d practice this number together at home. We’re still learning the routine, actually, thanks for asking). Of course, as you would expect (I’m being facetious), there’s a Greek Chorus comprising Elle’s best friends from the Delta Nu sorority, and these are the girls who may need to listen to some of what Elle has to say about true self-confidence.


On opening night there appeared to be a little bit of competition going on. I felt like somebody should tell them, “Don’t sweat it, girls, remember, YOU GOT THE PARTS! FIND YOUR INNER ELLE” and make them sit down at Interval to watch the Rumor Has It episode of Smash, you know, when Karen is taught to FIT IN. I’m sure they’ve settled already.




The boys are no less impressive, with Rob Millsy Mills dripping charm as the apparently perfect boyfriend, Warner, Cameron Daddo oozing that awful, all-too-familiar “I can make you or break you baby so (a-hem) *kiss* me” vibe as the Professor, and David Harris delivering on all accounts as Emmett, to give us our fairytale ending. Not sure why we’re not seeing Harris regularly on Broadway yet but I’m glad he’s here for the moment! Omigod you guys, we should have asked him that! The male ensemble is strong, with its standout in Mike Snell, in his first actual role (as opposed to a succession of nameless ensemble roles, which have brought him this far), who sells his “package” with aplomb. Even with an Austin Powers sorta sight gag in there (really, it’s just a phallic reference but I thought it was time we all enjoyed a bit of Austin again!). Surprisingly, it’s not too much. In fact, as big and shiny as every element is, there is nothing overplayed or over produced to the extent that we question it. What this company, along with the extended creative team, and in particular Andrew Pole (Resident Director), have managed to do, is to stage in the Lyric Theatre, a shiny, glossy, sparkly, saccharine sweet Broadway smash-hit without losing anything of the original, except Laura Bell Bundy et al! (I’m including this link so you can appreciate even more, Lucy Durack, and our Australian daytime television talk shows. JUST SAYIN’ Y’ALL!).


The set is fabulous, the wardrobe is a new season Preppie-inspired fashionista’s dream, and the dogs, omigod you guys, the DOGS! If nothing else, the dogs in this show will steal your heart. You’ll be grinning from ear to ear over the too-cute antics of Bruiser (Sparrow, Quinn & Audrey) and Rufus (Luka & Harris).


Legally Blonde The Musical has so much energy, so much excitement, so much FUN and so much PINK! This production is the perfect example of the new John Frost brand of bread and circuses (we saw it in Mary Poppins); it’s not for the masses with nothing, but for the masses with everything, who demand more, much, MUCH more. Legally Blonde is seriously fun, super slick and shiny; it’s sublime entertainment for everyone.


Ha! You’re bending and snapping now, aren’t you?!