Posts Tagged ‘sunshine coast theatre


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





Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival 2013 Results





What a MASSIVE weekend! Our best Festival yet! Were you there? Which was your favourite play? The Audience Choice award went to one of my favourite productions GOD OF CARNAGE.


Best Play went to my other favourite production 10 000 Cigarettes. These performances served as perfect examples of finding and playing truthfully the bitter reality that makes really good comedy, the need for bold and insightful direction, and the impact of exceptional ensemble work.


In previous years I’ve been able to commit to attending the festival in its entirety and taking my own notes each session, as well as sharing the adjudicator’s comments. This year I couldn’t say NO to a few events and deadlines either side of the festival! Speaking of deadlines, there’s one looming so let’s wrap up this post!




Congratulations to all involved, and thank you to the committee and the hard working volunteers. The festival would not go ahead without you.


Loved that our Adjudicator, Andrea Moor, commented on the lack of Brisbane faces in the audience and we’re hoping that we see more of you up here in the future.


Come up for a weekend of theatre and beautiful beaches!


Andrea will tell you how good the Peninsula is. And yes, we agree with you – the standard of theatre needs to be consistently good to get you here more often – and that’s what we’re working so hard to achieve year ’round as the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance. We know we’re well on the way! P.S. Look out for some BIG changes in the way companies will need to secure their place in next year’s Sunshine Coast festival!




ADJUDICATOR’S AWARD – sponsored by The Lind Theatre, Nambour

Winner:                     10,000 Cigarettes, Miranda’s Dressing Room


1st CERTIFICATE OF DISTINCTION – Sponsored by 104.9 Sunshine FM

Jacqui Mata Luque for writing and Directing Context


2nd CERTIFICATE OF DISTINCTION – Sponsored by 104.9 Sunshine FM

Kate Cullen for directing Roman Fever


3rd CERTIFICATE OF DISTINCTION – Sponsored by 104.9 Sunshine FM

Crain Taylor for directing The Big Cats


4th CERTIFICATE OF DISTINCTION – Sponsored by 104.9 Sunshine FM

Rainee Skinner for writing and acting in the boy in the cardboard box


5th CERTIFICATE OF DISTINCTION – Sponsored by 104.9 Sunshine FM

John McMahon for directing and design for Anything But Barefoot Bowls


6th CERTIFICATE OF DISTINCTION – Sponsored by 104.9 Sunshine FM

Jennifer Rousset for acting in Context


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR COMEDY  (female) – sponsored by BATS Theatre Co Inc

Commended:           Jennifer Rousset,  Context

Winner:                     Sharon Grimley, God of Carnage


BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY (female) – sponsored by Oriana Arts Inc

Winner:                     Kate Cullen, God of Carnage


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR COMEDY (male) – sponsored by SRT Inc

Winner:                     Frank Wilkie, God of Carnage


BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY (male) – sponsored by BATS Theatre Co Inc

Winner:                     Brett Klease, God of Carnage


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR DRAMA (female) – sponsored by Coolum theatre Players

Commended:            Karen Peart, The Big Cats

Winner:                        Marilyn Davis, Roman Fever


BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA (female) – sponsored by Sunshine Coast Council

Winner:                     Jan Paterson, The Big Cats


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR DRAMA (male) – sponsored by Noosa Arts Theatre

Winner:                     Florian Coste, Limbus


BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA (male) – sponsored by The Lind Theatre, Nambour

Winner:                     Les Chappell, The Big Cats


BEST SET DESIGN – The Gordon Leeder MEMORIAL Perpetual Trophy and $100 – sponsored by Caloundra Chorale & Theatre

Commended:           Anything But Barefoot Bowls, SAD Theatre Co

Winner:                      10,000 Cigarettes,  Miranda’s Dressing Room


BEST UNPUBLISHED SCRIPT –  The Philip Chappell Memorial Perpetual Trophy  and $100 sponsored by The Independent Theatre at Eumundi

Commended:         the boy in the cardboard box, Theatre s

Context,  BATS Theatre Co

Limbus, IntAct Players

Winner:                     Anything But Barefoot Bowls,  SAD Theatre Co


BEST DIRECTOR  – $100 – sponsored by Don & Shirley Anson-Smith

Commended:           Kate Cullen, Roman Fever

Craig Taylor, The Big Cats

Winner:                      Simon Denver, God of Carnage



Commended:           Roman Fever, Caloundra Chorale and Theatre Co


3RD BEST PLAY – $100 – sponsored by Fox Mildwaters Solicitors

Winner:                     The Big Cats, Ipswich Little Theatre Society


2ND BEST PLAY – $200 – sponsored by Colin & Lea Anne Grevett

Winner:                     God of Carnage, Suncoast Repertory Theatre & The Lind


BEST PLAY – The Bev McCudden Memorial Perpetual Trophy and $300 – Peninsular Beachside Resort

Winner:                     10,000 Cigarettes


AUDIENCE CHOICE – $100 – sponsored by Noosa Arts Theatre Inc

Winner:                     God of Carnage






Strange Attractor – Sam Coward

Strange Attractor

Strange Attractor

A Chat with Sam Coward


It’s hard to catch my husband for more than 2 minutes at a time so we’re lucky we got this much out of him.

This weekend is your last chance to see Sam in what he says will be his final role on stage for a while. And he’s good. And I’m his biggest critic. You should see this production, it’s good; it’s Simon Denver’s staging of Sue Smith’s bold Australian play about a Pilbara community rocked by the unexpected death of their mate, Gus, played by Sam.


Tell us about Gus

Gus has a fairly fast decline from being enthusiastic and somewhat superficial about his role as the safety officer. He’s got an IQ of 133. And then all of a sudden we see his decline; he’s obviously been in the job too long and he sees the de-civilisation in the camp that brings him to breaking point. He resorts to drugs and alcohol, which leads him to doing something stupid. Perhaps if he weren’t depressed he wouldn’t have taken the risk, which ultimately led to his death. Did the drugs and alcohol make the risk possible?


How much has the environment contributed to the death of Gus?

Gus is a good man. You see him trying to fit in and he’s an Alpha but it’s not about intellect in that environment. It’s as superficial as “might has right” and it’s a Neolithic hierarchy. Placed in those extreme environmental conditions, combined with a lawless and loveless mental condition, basic instincts govern.


Are there any answers by the end of the play?

By the end we learn that relationships are all that matter but people are still going to be attracted to the bright lights and the promise of money. They’ll put themselves into shit conditions to make a lot of money fast. The resource boom FIFO jobs are traps. They sound like they’re a good thing for the family, they’re sold attractively but these jobs are just cheese in the trap. The alcohol, the drugs…

There must be people who find the lifestyle attractive. It’s empty, shallow, and it’s easy until you stop and think about it. It’s purely about the wants. There’s no love, there are just connections.


What’s it like to play a dead guy?

It’s funny. Because you’re one of the guys but you’re not performing as one of the guys. They’re all talking about me but I’m not there talking with them. I have a different relationship with them.


Tell us about working with SRT

The company is cavalier, crazy and raw. Whether the success of their shows is by accident or design we’ll never know. Simon says the success of a show is 99% casting and he’s right; that’s what we see him do.

There’s a high degree of trust in the SRT process, where actors in the fold are trusted and it’s more a baptism of fire for the newbies. Weaknesses are exposed, ridiculed, and laughed about until they’re not weaknesses anymore. It’s survival of the fittest. You can either work the way we work or you can’t. There’s no management and no handholding. Everybody knows what he or she is doing and they expect you to do the same. When you join SRT for a production it’s sink or swim.


So describe the rehearsal process…

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh. You mean Bump In and Tech? That’s it. No, really, that’s it.


Is this an important play?

Yes, it’s very relevant; it takes an up close look at the impact of the FIFO phenomenon on Australian families. There’s so much perpetuated about the mining culture and this is a glimpse at the truth.


What’s this about a Boys’ Shed at Noosa Arts Theatre?

The Mens’ Sheds comprise men over 60 who hang out and build stuff. The proposal is to start up a boys’ arm of the Mens’ Shed to provide role models for the sons of FIFO fathers, as well as opportunities to learn and apply new practical skills. It’s an old school idea for a new generation of Lost Boys.


What about a Girls Shed?

Well, they’re everywhere…salons, stores, and coffee shops.


Righto… What’s next? The Pirate Show is ongoing, at least until the 22nd. What do you have on after that?

Soiree_2013The Pirate Show is the first theatre restaurant concept the Sunshine Coast has seen for years so we hope to bring you a return season later in the year. We have some other concepts up our puffy pirate shirt sleeves too. Next Saturday 9th February the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance presents their annual Soiree, a night of fun and great food, and the season launches from our Alliance theatre members. Check out for details on how to book and how to get involved at your local community theatre.


Following that, I’m involved behine-the-scenes with Noosa Arts Theatre’s West Side Story, directed by Synda Turnbull, and I’m directing opening and closing pieces for the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival and Floating Land. And you know XS has a heap of other projects, which we’ll reveal details about later in the year.


Book online for Strange Attractor


Book online for the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance Soiree


Find audition info for the Noosa Arts National One-Act Playwriting Competition and West Side Story here





Wish I’d Said That

I had to send Stephen Moore to see Henri Szeps in Wish I’d Said That because Szeps played the role of the doctor in the film of David Williamson’s Travelling North and Stephen’s currently playing the role of the doctor in Noosa Arts Theatre’s production of Travelling North! David and Kristen will attend the Gala Opening Night, which is already SOLD OUT! Such is the reputation of Noosa Arts Theatre and the love on the Sunshine Coast for David’s work.

Wish I’d Said That

Playwright and director:  HENRI SZEPS


Technical Stage Manager:  RUSSELL JONES


Lighting Designer:  SCOTT ALLAN

Music accompaniment:  MICHAEL BARTOLOMEI

QUT Gardens Theatre on March 3 (1 hour 40 minutes, no interval).

The world according to Henri. Acting 101a by Henri.

These two worlds collided in Henri Szeps’ latest one man show (his third self-penned following I’m Not a Dentist and Why Kids?).  Best known as the dentist brother in Mother and Son, or perhaps as the doctor in Travelling North, Henri has a long career on stage and in film which has won him a Helpmann Award and a Penguin Award.  As Henri says in the program notes: “I’m a character actor.  That’s what I do best.  I wanted something to show off in, do my best party pieces in, tell my best showbiz gags in.  But I also wanted to touch on the triumps and failures we all endure, and share the perspectives we gain through simply surviving on this wonderful planet for a long time.”

The premise is that an old actor has ended up in a retirement village and, as his contribution to the cultural life of the residents, he would do a ‘show’ for them as part of the regular entertainment.  In Henri’s opinion, speaking as himself is very limiting and that he is much more honest if he is playing someone else – and so Joe Bleakley is born.  The show sees this character reheasing in his unit and we learn all about his life and almost-career.

So there are some of the great speeches and characters from life, stage and literature, the roles that the failed actor, Joe, would have loved to play, but due to a lack of tact and political savvy, was never afforded the opportunity.  There are also some wonderful stories and cracking one-liners and even a smattering of songs; but it’s not all ‘beer and skittles’ as Joe reveals some regrets about his personal life.

And that’s where we get into philosphical deliberations – the world according to Henri.

Another point made in the program notes is “write what you know”, and so we get a couple of tips on acting; which Henri also did in Why Kid’s.

For me, it became a bit aimless and rambling, or maybe that was what Henri was trying to say – as you get older your thoughts become scattered.  My problem with that is that the evening progressed with very little rising action and not much of a climax, it didn’t build to anything as it chopped and changed from scene to anecdote to confession of past sins and failings.  Certainly there were moments of wonderful theatrics or emotion, beautiful pieces beautifully presented, but they didn’t knit together into a whole.

One of the acting points he makes is that audiences want to see a fully fleshed character, not a well rehearsed actor, but I’m afraid all I saw was a well rehearsed actor plying his trade and producing all the effects he can.

His ability to hold an audience, his timing are not in question in this production – as witnessed by the rousing ovation by the large number of people at this performance.  Henri gets to show off and do his party pieces, and it is entertaining.  The material chosen was first rate and wide ranging.  The set and props, simple and effective, and particularly well complemented by the lighting design.  But, it wasn’t satisfying.

The issue of honesty in performance, or the lack thereof, was highlighted by the repeated ‘attempts’ to sing The Impossible Dream from Man of La Mancha before Henri breaks down in tears, until the finale, when the it was sung through with a less than stirring voice.

All the ingredients, but not the recipe.


Fast Forward: a collection of short plays

Fast Forward: A Collection of Short Plays


Buderim Memorial Hall 

03.03.12 – 10.03.12


Away from Home

By Ian Pullar 

Directed by Madeleine Johnston


Roland: John Woodrow

Steve: David Coleman

Plotting to escape from the nursing home.

A common room in a nursing home is indicated with the placement of 2 chairs and a TV set. The actors speak with measured “aged” speech and one of them, Coleman, uses a decidedly whiney tone, which somehow suits his British accent (such is our conditioning, when Brits sound whiney). A funny, light, wry two-hander, this was a great opener. We enjoyed the return to child-like behaviour (as Jaques, in As You Like It, so eloquently describes, in his famous seven ages of man monologue).

With regard to movement, Coleman could have picked up on some of Woodrow’s mannerisms, at times overplayed but generally suitable. Woodrow is well practiced in front of an audience and he certainly knows how to get a laugh or two. With regard to proximity and staging, Woodrow standing for so long, so closely to Coleman in the small space creates an imbalance on stage and therefore, a slight status issue. Not a biggie, just something for the director to keep in mind. On Saturday night, the audience enjoyed this play, offering the actors their gift of plenty of out-loud laughter. Don’t ever underestimate your power to influence the performance, dear audience! We find humour in those characters and situations with which we can relate, so the gift of a good writer (and a good theatrical team), particularly when dealing with comedy, is to present a familiar story, about which we can comfortably laugh. This is the wonderful exchange that exists in live theatre.

It takes 5 of the 10-minute duration to establish these two comical characters as well as their context before there is any suggestion of escape. Following witty reference to a series of famous escape movies, this play concludes neatly, satisfactorily, pleasing the audience.

Something Better than the Spoons

By Bruce Olive

Directed by Kate Cullen

Maureen: Jan Meade

Arthur: David Haviland

Jasmine: Sam Fazldeen

Organising a fund-raising concert.

Haviland and Meade establish characters and context from the outset, a husband and wife relationship that has, perhaps, seen more intimate days (or nights) but nevertheless, is a close and supportive one. Arthur needs a new act for his charity gig at the end of the month and Maureen needs to go to bed.

This play, by local playwright Bruce Olive, has a local flavour (the Buderim Scout Hall gets a mention), which the audience likes and it has a funny premise; Arthur, a retired spoons player calls the Good Time Hotline, on the other end of which is Jasmine; husky, freshly showered good-time-guaranteed-call girl (Fazldeen). Miscommunication allows for a host of quick one-liners, though at times they are not delivered quite quickly enough.

The curtains closing were misleading for those not looking at their watches and suddenly we had Maureen step out in front to introduce her husband and the good time girl in a spicy spoons act that the senior audience won’t be forgetting too soon. Sweet Charity’s Big Spender was the winner here, in an under-choreographed performance, for which there is really no excuse; good choreographers appear to be breeding on the Sunshine Coast at the moment so we must use them (or they will go away).

Here’s a challenge to all community theatre groups: if a script calls for singing or accents, put out a call for a vocal or dialect coach. If a script calls for dancing, ask a dancer to take a look at what you’re doing and invite them to contribute to the piece. If a script calls for dramaturgical work or simply a fresh set of eyes to see it, ask for help. Don’t be shy. Community theatre begs collaboration and in this community there is no doubt we have the talent. Find it and ask if you may borrow a bit of it.

Bugger the Trip

Written & Directed by Alice Rea

Henry: Wayne Neuendorf

Julie: Kerryl Johnson

Waitress: Isabelle La Macchia

Has Henry bitten off more than he can chew? 

This is a strange play. It’s almost two plays that need to be split (or else it is, indeed just the one play, going through an identity crisis). An Italian restaurant setting, helped by Leaning Tower of Pisa clip art projected onto the cyclorama.

Neuendorf recites the lines he’s learned for an utterly deplorable character, Dr Henry Baulderstone, who leers at the waitress as well as his date, spills drinks upon himself and others and flings spaghetti to cover floor and diners alike (props to the extras, playing diners, who stayed sufficiently in the background and yet reacted and retreated appropriately at the right time). His date, poor Julie, boasting a stylish blonde cut and a bold blue dress, takes a bit of dialogue to settle but when she does, her reactions are terrific and she brings the energy this piece needs. It’s pleasing to note that props are handled well (it’s a very messy setting), however; water for champagne in a wine bottle doesn’t wash. “Nice champagne,” I don’t think.

An unexpected twist is over-explained and for me, this seems a fault of the play and nothing to do with the actor, who has enough on his plate as it is, if he is to develop any sort of depth or versatility across his wide-ranging roles on Sunshine Coast stages. The conclusion might have been funnier had it ended with the phone call made by Baulderstone, rather than have him continue into lengthy and unnecessary exposition. As I say, there’s a second play right there. A playwright needs to know when to wrap it up.

Certainly, the characters are drawn pretty clearly and audible gasps from a woman in the audience, at Baulderstone’s every obscene comment and ghastly trait, drew stifled laughter from those around her. I bet the casts wish for an audience as relaxed as this lot every night. When it comes down to it, this play very nearly works. As tends to be the case for so many new comedies, the actors need to keep playing around in it for a bit. As directors (and writer/directors), how much are we asking – or allowing – our actors to play?


Life in an Envelope

By John Saint-Smith

Directed by Paul Barrs

Meg: Jacqui Mata Luque


“They’re all oldies…” and “Are they trying to tell us something?!” were the audience remarks as Mata Luque shuffled on stage.

A decent study in “aged” movement, Mata Luque takes all the time in the world to enter the space, collect a parcel at the door, cross to the table, make a cup of tea, cross to her chair and gingerly sit down. Without the fourth wall, she addresses the audience directly, reminiscing; the vivid memories of an eighty year old.

This is a poignant piece and it was distracting to see the PowerPoint icons displayed on the cyc. I’m not sure I know how to get rid of them. But I would find someone who did. And get rid of them. A small detail but for a fabulous piece, worth fixing.

Mata Luque is one of our most experienced performers and it shows. She is relaxed, confident and charming as the eighty-something year old Meg, who is sent a letter from a woman she once knew, the daughter of a friend of hers, now deceased. Having bequeathed some items to Meg, we see (projected) a page from a Ration Book, which spurs Meg’s memories of the government telling the people during the war years, “We had to live a simpler life” and “We were all in it together”. She recalls saving every last scrap and laughs with us at her own funny-because-it’s-true wisecrack, “There weren’t too many fat people around during the war!

A precious Dance Card draws forth some fonder memories, of the boys who would ask her to dance during her youth. This story is expanded upon beautifully, with tenderness and new love for her main man, Vince. Mata Luque is an actor who reminds us of the importance of simply telling the story. She talks to us like an old friend and we feel welcome to stay and listen to her tales. A black and white photo reminds her of bonfires and more intimate times on the beach, though, “not like the young hussies today!” A portrait of Vince, “when the boy became a man,” on the eve of his departure to war leads to a letter, which we hear read through Meg’s tears, confirming that she lost the love of her life, recipient of the Victoria Cross no less, to the war. Meg pushes herself up out of her chair and shuffles to find her handkerchief. We hear the same woman in the audience, through her own tears, utter something indiscernible and feel a sense of relief when the lights come up for interval. That one has visibly affected us and it’s time for a cup of tea.


INTERVAL – listen to reflections from Director, Paul Barrs



Written & Directed by Catherine Steer

Woman: Kathryn Barnes

Man: David Coleman

Girl: Bronte Latham

Boy: Dominic Morley

A couple is reminded of what once was.

This is another interesting offering from writer/director Catherine Steer. I’ve not seen her original work before but I find her take on known works just as interesting. Over is ever so slightly absurd and slightly more Brechtian, featuring two actors out front, a male and female, sharing their thoughts on what their relationship has become, as two younger actors – a male and a female – recount in mime, their memories.

If you entreat an audience to remember, you must be genuine. It’s interesting, almost deadpan delivery instead, that serves to alienate us.

Man: “How do you get from that … To this?”

Woman: “It takes years.”

Suddenly the deadpan delivery and the staging work and we get a laugh. It’s the laugh of recognition of the familiar. We’ve been there. Well, a younger audience may not have been there at all but for those who have felt the absurdity at times of a long-standing relationship, this sort of self-deprecating humour is appreciated. What was once an embrace is now “being within an iron fortress.” (The discipline of the young couple, wrapped in an embrace for a good length of iron fortress time, is duly noted.)

“We were like that once…weren’t we?”

“We’ll just keep going, pretend we’re still in love; keep everyone happy.”

“One day you find love just doesn’t live with you anymore.”

“Oh well. At least we still have each other.”

The irony. The flip sides of the coin.

“Familiar,” “Scary,” and “Is that us, do you think?” were the audience remarks I overheard at the conclusion of this play. Steer’s is theatre that inspires thought and initiates discussion.

And then there was the raffle – because somebody forgot to draw it at interval – gotta’ love community theatre.


The Mysterious Case of the Man with the Seven Deadly Sins

By Bruce Olive

Directed by Madeleine Johnston

Psychiatrist: Pedau Grabbe

David: Alex Tillack

We hear the Looney Tunes theme to open. It sets a certain tone.

A tall, lanky, suit and spectacle wearing, clipboard-bearing doctor welcomes into her office, an urban jeans and t-shirt clad kid who suffers from schizophrenia. This character allows Tillack to explore several characters and the extremes of each personality. Tillack could push the envelope a little further with these and play a little larger. This role is a terrific opportunity to showcase the versatility of an actor; Jekyll and Hyde style and an abridged version would make a great audition piece.

I felt that Grabbe missed an opportunity here or perhaps the director missed seeing something in her because the doctor, in questioning David (and Mr Envy, Mr Pride, Mr Glutton, Mr Sloth, Mr Lust et al), had more to explore than the static, stereotypical psychoanalyst. As an actor, we have to remember that the character is not just a psychiatrist but also a woman (and maybe a mother and almost certainly, she is someone’s daughter or sister or partner). She has opinions and a life story and she’s already – before we see her – had a good or a bad day. We create back-stories and history to give our characters depth. We spend time exploring voice and movement to make our characters appear real.

There is work here to be done on vocals. Some higher feminine voices are harder to listen to (hence we have successful news anchors of both sexes with lower pitch). The tone can be softened and the pace and inflection can vary. Take time to listen, absorb and respond accordingly, as you would do IRL (in real life).

David returns to the doctor’s office, apparently cured. The doctor is pleased that her prescription has had the desired effect. He looks puzzled. “Medication? What medication?” We hear – and see – that the other personalities have departed because they couldn’t stand the noise…from the cockatoo! This is a great, funny finish, though verging on OTT. This audience liked it and those nearest me commented, “He was very good! He was actually very good.”

Modern Life

By John Saint Smith

Directed by Paul Barrs

Jane: Anita Tillack

Peter: Carl Trocki

Another from the pen of John Saint Smith, Modern Life has an immediate eighties vibe (and a solid voiceover – look out, Bruce Hamilton – thanks to director, Paul Barrs.

He tells me at interval that the mother of an auditionee (Tillack) and another newbie, Trocki, rocked up and suited the roles and the play. Trocki’s American accent and his softer tone, typical of the humble, well sponsored and even better schooled, high-ranking tennis player sounds authentic and is lovely to listen to. Trocki, though, should watch his energy towards the ends of phrases so we don’t lose the text and Tillack must work harder to enunciate and to vary her pitch. I only make these notes now so that actors may bear in mind that which their audience is seeing and hearing so they might deliver a clearer message next time.

A heavy environmental lesson during a candid conversation seems to come out of nowhere and is explained later. The relationship itself is unclear at first – are they friends? He asks her out to dinner. “How am I supposed to resist you?” They seem an unlikely couple. We must be wary of unmotivated movement. If our intention is clear the movement makes sense.

An amusing twist and an explanation delivered directly to audience sets our minds at ease. “I tried dating real women…” and we have the “a-ha” moment; it’s a stepford wives story. The woman is “The perfect flatmate for the environmentally responsible modern man. Plus, think of the power I save!” Finally, in his last laugh line, delivered with aplomb, I decide Trocki is one to watch. His is an easy manner and he just needs to settle into the space. As actors, we must learn what our habits are and set about breaking them. It’s a director’s job to support this process.


The Job Interview

By John Saint Smith

Directed by Jacqui Mata Luque

Evan: David Coleman

Sue: Anna McMahon

The sound of a clock ticking while the audience chatters. We know it’s the last play of the program and it’s been a good night so we’re in high spirits. Curtains open on a couple of red sofas, a desk, a chair and a handwritten sign “Back in 5 minutes. Thanks.”

The actor entering this scene, Coleman again, though this time in a comfortable role that he rocks rather than doesn’t quite fit, builds tension nicely, anticipating a job interview situation and instead, getting a sassy chick in a hibiscus print mini skirt and jacket. McMahon is applying for the same position – apparently – and bustles in, all business (well, and perhaps a bit of play); it suits her.

This clever piece is nearly naturalistic, only some of the sarcasm and enthusiasm seems staged. Outbursts particularly were believable. For example, Evan’s incredulous, “Where the hell are they?!” got a great laugh because we were all wondering the same thing! Both actors played to nice reactions, finding a connection within their banter that we too could feel. Here we had the element of play that I was looking to see in earlier pieces. It’s community theatre! If it’s not fun – if you’re not having fun – why are you doing it???

Admittedly, we saw the twist in this one coming but we didn’t mind. We also know the Titanic will sink but it’s the getting there that’s exhilarating.

An evening of short plays like this will always be a mixed bag. That’s why I don’t mind supporting them. Like the Short+Sweet phenomenon (Sam Coward, Brett Klease and Simon Denver are set to take on Sydney next, having won the Queensland competition), there will always be something for everyone. And if there’s something you’re not enjoying, it’s all over in 10 minutes! Whether or not you’re a regular theatregoer and whether or not you know anybody involved, this is your best local night out. If you’re really keen to keep heading out, it’s over before 10:30pm, which means you can catch a cab, talk about what you’ve seen and no doubt make some drama (and/or comedy) of your own somewhere! Cheers!

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