Posts Tagged ‘Sunshine Coast


Single Asian Female


Single Asian Female

La Boite Theatre Company

La Boite Roundhouse Theatre

February 11 – March 4 2017

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

things have to change…

Single Asian Female gives a voice to the voiceless and talks about race and gender in ways we often don’t.

– Director, Claire Christian


Single. Asian. Female. It’s a joke because, remember the film? But it’s no joke that the truths shared in Michelle Law’s searingly honest and delightfully funny debut are instantly, regrettably, familiar to us. Of course, a lifetime of being on the receiving end means the racial slurs and assumptions to which this piece gives voice and context, are more familiar to some than others. It’s a timely, nicely conceived work, bold and furious and funny, and while it can do with a more discerning dramaturgical touch, on its first outing Single Asian Female wins the open hearts and minds of audiences and artists. Like Future D. Fidel’s unforgettable Prize Fighter, Law’s contemporary timeless story, inspired by aspects of her own, will rightly take its place in this country’s canon of works; it’s not only highly entertaining and moving, but also, another opportunity to open up our performance spaces and school curriculum to people of colour.

La Boite is employing all the colours, telling all the stories. 

I read something about someone wanting to get rid of a particular story. But why would anyone feel the need to do that? Acts of destruction waste so much energy. Challenging and questioning the dominant myth may be useful, but losing it from the conversation altogether? Not so much. It’s true that some stories are lost along the way, but they’re eventually uncovered, or remembered, or replaced by another version that has the same substance and soul message. This is why we persist with telling them, writing them down, putting them on the stage and screen… Isn’t it vital to keep the stories, to share them and not destroy them or discard them just because someone suddenly decides they don’t appear to be relevant to a particular group of people? The stories are another group’s stories. It doesn’t mean they have no value for you, and it certainly doesn’t mean they were created with an intent to offend or to bury any other stories past, present or future, it simply means they’ve come from someone else in another place at a particular time and you have the choice, always, to recognise any value in them from your unique personal and cultural perspective. And to continue to contribute your own version of events. Go on, get creating rather than destroying.


Let’s keep all the stories and concentrate our efforts on contributing more stories. Stories are for sharing. So we hold space for all of them. There is enough space.

This production, this story, is another hammer, which La Boite rightly prides itself on wielding (this company too, sans hashtag, is all about leading from Queensland) and it will go a long way in continuing to shape our shared reality. 


These are the stories that are with us and amongst us.

– La Boite Theatre Company Artistic Director, Todd MacDonald

There’s nothing to fault in the wonderful, easeful performances of the three leading ladies, each a fiercely “strong woman”, firm in her resolve to thrive, and funny in her unapologetically wry take on so many situations, which we find equally appalling and amusing. Director, Claire Christian, gives each situation to us straight, trusting the source and allowing her actors to play with the material, resulting in some of the sharpest, most original comedy of the year.



In a complex and appropriately cluttered and homely, surprisingly functional multi-level space designed by Moe Assad and lit by Keith Clark, the women revolve around each other and their Golden Phoenix Chinese Restaurant (amusingly, for long-term Sunshine Coast residents, located in Nambour, but it could be anywhere), which will bring about either fortune or disaster in the end. La Boite feels as festive as ever, with Chinese lanterns hanging in the foyer and the red carpet rolled out for opening night. There’s even cabaret style restaurant seating available inside the theatre so some audience members really get to feel a part of the action, a clever, inclusive design element. We delight in picking up our tickets (for the tiered section) encased in a shiny red and gold embossed envelope before the show, and cracking open our fortune cookies after it. 



The Wong family women are real to me because they were inspired by people I know: generous, assertive, resilient women who hold the world on their shoulders.

– Writer, Michelle Law

Alex Lee’s Zoe is a superb realisation of the eldest daughter, harnessing the extreme emotions of a young, talented, ambitious creative soul suffering from anxiety, having yet to secure a place in the world outside of her mother’s realm and representing not just Asian young adults but every young woman everywhere. I’d love to see Lee’s solo show sometime – how could I not? It’s called I’m Eating Peanut Butter In The Shower Because I’m Sad And You’e Not The Boss of Me. Lee is a delight.


Courtney Stewart’s Mei is the younger, impressionable and eternally frustrated, just-wanna-finish-school-and-go-to-the-formal eye rolling second child, on the verge of finding out for herself the truth about her father’s character and her own. (Interestingly, this dad is unseen and painted as the devil, having selfishly, callously caused every problem faced by the family). Stewart was an inspired inclusion in last year’s developmental showing of Soi Cowboy, a commissioned Brisbane Powerhouse production, which we’re sure to hear more about this year. 


Hsiao-Ling Tang is an ideal Pearl with her frantic gestures juxtaposed against complete stillness (a sense of the sacred self knowledge coming up against the contemporary overculture’s unachievable expectations), her stubborn use of Chinglish and her insistence that shoes be taken off inside the house (and that Chinese snacks be available to friends during study group – how embarrassing – hilarious). Her tiger mother bouts of intense frustration and raw anger at something unseen prompt us to sit up in surprise and sadness and awe before settling back into a place between laughter and tears (of recognition, sympathy, empathy), when she finally reveals the secret that could be the family’s undoing… Tang will appear later in the year in the world premiere of Michele Lee’s Rice, the winner of the Queensland Premier’s 2016 Drama Award, another must-see.

These women, as if they’d been working together for some time already, convey genuine affection and concern for each other. The connections are real, making their stories completely relatable, regardless of our cultural background, a fly-on-the-wall shared experience. Such a magical thing, live theatre…


Emily Burton is perhaps the most endearing performer I’ve seen on a Brisbane stage (Dash Kruck and Tom Oliver up there also). I adore her, and much more so when she’s perfectly cast, as she is here, as Mei’s lanky, daggy, wannabe Asian misfit friend, Katie. She’s got a bohemian willowy geeky tomboy cosplay comical sad panda thing going on and it works superbly as a foil to mean girl Lana’s constant digs, and Mei’s reluctant rebelliousness and her insecurities about who she thinks she wants to be. A scene in which we see Mei trapped between Katie’s longstanding friendship and Lana’s passive aggressive popularity test is so uncomfortable to watch; it’s probably stingingly familiar to most of us if we’re honest, as is Mei’s choice in the moment and Katie’s reaction. Like similar moments, it could be overplayed but Burton finds a balance between the truth of the character and the tragicomedy of the situation.


Patrick Jhanur is just gorgeous as Paul. His gentleness though, his subtleties (and some of his words), are at risk of becoming lost in the noise and pace of the women’s world. This is quite probably a deliberate thing and will be more astutely balanced/managed as the season continues. The self conscious banter between he and Zoe is delightful, making us squirm and giggle and smile, and hope that everything will work out for these two. But is this character just the token male, included as a woman might be, to fit that space in a play populated with men, penned by a man? I don’t think so. As we see during a discussion about the chance to have a child, with vulnerability and a tenderness not always afforded a male character, Jhanur steps up for this role, and perhaps there is simply, gradually, a little more flesh to be added to its bones. 


Emily Vascotto has vibrant, wicked, gleeful Isla Fischer/Lizzie Moore energy and if you don’t know our Lizzie Moore, you really ought to get out…more. A real-life red-headed Bratz Doll, Vascotto embodies the type I’d warn my daughter about, as in, keep your friends close and keep that one closer. With less experience on stage than the other girls but with no less sass, Vascotto walks a fine comical line between being immediately recognisable and so much larger than life that we lose sight of who Lana really is. I think she’ll settle into this role during the season and certainly, will do so without the vignettes involving her character losing any momentum. At least, let’s hope not, with some momentum lacking on opening night. (I think we accept that this is typical of an opening night performance and later, we’re unsurprised by reports of a cracking pace). The occasional lag seems due to The Family Law style episodic structure, each chapter landing with an unapologetically political or moral thud. Like, BOOM. It’s never too much but it’s almost too much at once; it’s almost overwhelming, but then, the reality is that life IS overwhelming. There IS this much blatant racism to deal with in this country, every day. We have ALL of these issues to consider, and more. 

One has to write what one sees, what one feels, truthfully, sincerely.

– Anton Chekhov


To finish with Tina Arena’s Chains is such a great gimmick (and these girls can really sing it!), but it’s not my favourite closing number. I feel we should be singing along with something…upbeat. Karaoke is gold and if you promise it you need to deliver on it, just as the slinky has its moment on the stairs. (Gun. Bang. Etcetera.)

In the spirit of the current trend to make a short show a good show, it’s worth noting that a discerning dramaturg might take a red pen to the text, make more efficient use of the more stylised moments (a raw, real look at online dating and the daughters’ stories being taken into account by the end), and make it a 90-minute no-interval knockout…but think about that. Would we have quite as much to digest or to discuss? Would we feel as deeply about any of the characters without the time to meander through their world with them? The rich texture of this tale is in its detail and while I’d often prefer to get home earlier (but I know, it’s so interesting to stay for speeches too, so I usually do), by the same token I’d love to see the full length production, as it stands, return with yum cha at interval and actual karaoke afterwards. In fact, let’s make the food together. It’s perfect festival fare.

In the meantime, don’t miss seeing Michelle Law’s personal-universal play just the way it is, at La Boite’s Roundhouse. Don’t miss the opportunity to take part in our nation’s most pressing conversation. Don’t miss being part of the cultural change, the global shift; the impetus behind powerful art and empowered people.


Single Asian Female is the baton being passed on. Don’t drop it or decline to take it. Don’t be a dickhead. Don’t be that (white) guy.






The Only Chick on the Construction Site: A chat with Anna McMahon


We caught up with Anna McMahon, the only chick on the jobsite at Job’s Right – The Second Coat!




What’s Job’s Right – The Second Coat about?

7 years after Job’s Right…another day…another worksite….another client….another stuff up!


How did you find yourself in this show?

I am very lucky to say I was privileged to have worked with the talented Simon Denver and SRT last year in Rock In The Water – another successful SRT show winning over 30 awards around the 2014 South East Queensland Festival Circuit. Any excuse to be part of this company and their slick productions.


What was your first impression of the show? Of the role? (Had you seen the original installment of Job’s Right? Have you ever had a role like this?)

That is a very good question….having seen the first installment I certainly knew what I was in for! But if anyone had seen the first Job’s Right, they would remember from their belly hurting after laughing so much! My role is only 1 of 2 female characters…and all I can really say is….I am a female Chippie with a very, very bad attitude.


How did you prepare for the role? For working with a cast of all males except for “Aunty Joy”?

The wonderful thing about working with SRT is they are all about Team. For a faultless machine to work, one must trust, do what they are told and work hard…and the result is always something to be proud of. I have worked with these men and Aunty Joy a couple of times now…and I would always do it again in a heartbeat!




Describe the rehearsal room & rehearsal process.

Whether it be in Aunty Joy’s living room, spare back room, around her outdoor table, Brett’s outback shack, verandah or lounge room….SRT fits in spaces of all shapes and sizes! The rehearsal process is a fun one – all about comradery, trusting who you work with and making a commitment to your team.


Tell us about working with SRT & Job’s Right Productions.

An experience I would do again and again and again. SRT is professional to the letter, and Job’s Right Productions certainly are not any different.


Tell us about touring and why it’s important to take this show on the road, to three different venues on the Sunshine Coast.

A professional show performed by professional actors on the Sunshine Coast at affordable prices…what more can I say? If Mohammad won’t come to the Mountain, take the Mountain to Mohammad…if the audience don’t hear about Job’s Right, we will shout louder! Oh…and you will laugh until it hurts.


Why should we see Job’s Right – The Second Coat? What do audiences love about it?

Right from the voiceover at the beginning of the show…you are in for a treat! If you like a good laugh, you cannot afford to miss Job’s Right –Second Coat!




What sort of theatre do you want to see continue being made on the Sunshine Coast?

The same opportunities and standards that Brisbane and Sydney have should exist on the Sunshine Coast. The talent is evident, the need is there…no excuses Queensland, it’s time for our Coast to shine with the rest of them.


How does performing fit in around your other life as a teacher?

My life is a stage, my passion is theatre….when you have feelings like this, you just make it fit.


What do you think performing does for other areas of your life, like teaching, meeting people, etc?

Performance and The Arts is who I am as a teacher. That is my greatest strength in the classroom. Who doesn’t remember that teacher who told jokes, used funny voices, dressed up, told stories and made learning fun and engaging. Taking you on a learning journey to remember. It’s also not just about what it gives me but what the Arts gives kids.





What do you want to do next?

Well what I WANT to do next…that’s quite an easy one….is to be a regular on Playschool.

What am I going to do next in the meantime? Just keep swimming….acting…performing….teaching.


See Anna, Aunty Joy and all the boys in Job’s Right – The Second Coat at Nambour Civic Centre tonight, tomorrow night & Saturday and at The J, Noosa June 3, 4 & 6



job's right_poster_final


Job’s Right – The Second Coat comes to Nambour & Noosa. A Chat with Simon Denver

Job’s Right – The Second Coat

A Chat With Simon Denver

After their sell-out season at The Events Centre, Caloundra, we caught up with Sunshine Coast based Writer & Director of SRT, Simon Denver.


Job’s Right – The Second Coat hits Nambour (May 28, 29 & 30) and Noosa (June 3, 4 & 6) next!


The client wants “an oasis of calm” so the boys (and girl) do their level best to oblige.

But something is lost in translation and anything that can go wrong GOES WRONG!


Simon, tell us about Job’s Right – The Second Coat.

A brutal, gladiatorial onslaught – that just happens to be really funny! There are 30, 000 job sites in Australia. This is none of them yet it’s all of them. A no holds barred, warts ‘n all look at Tradies. It contemptuously ignores the lines in crosses.

Job’s Right was a smash hit the first time around. To what do you attribute its success?

It struck a chord with so many people – especially Tradies. Brave, Raw, Earthy and Funny.

What else have you been doing? Why did it take so long to bring a second job site show to the Sunshine Coast?

Timing mainly. Everyone has a full life and it takes a while to line them all up. Besides, We kept this junk yard dog on a short chain for as long as we dare. It’s nasty. It’s hungry, it’s a bit stir crazy! Perfect time to let it off the chain.

You’ve used a few of the original actors but who’s new? How did you find them? How do you cast a show like Job’s Right?

You cast it with great care. The engine house of this show is the gang of painters. Three of these were in the original production. In fact, of the cast of eight, four were in the original. We looked for the chemistry first. We see a lot of shows locally every year so we are very aware who is out there. Watching someone perform is the ultimate audition.

Tell us about SRT & Job’s Right Productions. For what sort of theatre are you known?

I suppose you’d have to ask our critics that question. It’s very hard to be objective about our own work. I would like to think it is of a good standard though.

What drew you to live theatre? What’s special about it?

It’s in real time and there are no safety nets.

SimonDenver_headshotWho is doing the sort of work you like to see?

We’ve always liked brave or edgy material that pushes the envelope. But at the end of the day we like anything that is done properly. In the community theatre circles on the coast  Noosa Arts Theatre is head and shoulders above the rest – always delivering a high production standard. From the independent theatres XS Entertainment are blazing a very successful trail.

Thank you, Simon! #mutualadmirationsociety 

What do we need to keep seeing (or start seeing) on stage in Australia?

Works that are not held to ransom by the arts “Process”. Works that are not confined to the new economic paradigm of casts of four or under. Works that have not had to compromise by ticking the right boxes for funding! In short – works free of external agendas.

Who has influenced your work (actors, directors, producers)?

Everyone! Amateur or professional, good or bad, every show is a learning experience. Some totally reinforce what you should never do on a stage – some give you the inspiration to carry on. But we love any show that slaps us in the face and reminds us how much we have to learn.

Tell us about the creative process – as actor / writer / director.

This is genuine ensemble product. Brett (Klease) and I merely present a skeletal frame of a script and then the cast takes it and runs with it. Adapt and assimilate, personalise through consensus.



The entire cast then have a sense of ownership with the end product. This is really reflected in the performances. They have to be brave. But then again – as Goethe said – boldness has a genius all of its own.


job's right2

job's right1

Cast from L-R: Anna McMahon, Shane Cassidy, Brett Klease, Brad Thomson, Clayton Storey. Not pictured: Joy Marshall, Darren Heskes, Sam Coward


Do you have some hot tips for aspiring actors / writers / directors?

Learn to be ruthlessly truthful with yourselves. Learn to self edit. Be focused and disciplined – because only then does the real fun start.

Who will enjoy Job’s Right – The Second Coat?

Anyone who has a good sense of humour. Anyone who has had a gut full of the bureaucratic nonsense dictating what we can and can’t do, or laugh at.

What’s next?

Probably spend the next three years in court fending off all those charges from those we offended too much!

Book tix for Job’s Right – The Second Coat at Nambour Civic Centre



Book tix for Job’s Right – The Second Coat at The J, Noosa



job's right_poster_final


Why saying no is hard and when to say yes


I thought I would have a little break, slow down, step away from the crazy busy stuff of life, and take a break from it all. I didn’t plan to spend three weeks in Greece (although that would be nice), and I didn’t intend to switch off completely from social media (although that would be sensible). I just decided to not do so much. Well, let me tell you how that is working out. It’s not.


I’m finding it really difficult to STOP.


Why is it so hard to stop? To say no? (I can’t answer that. Can you?)


This morning I caught up with a couple of friends at the groovy, cosy, completely rebranded BV Pizzeria & Wine Bar on Kawana Island. It used to be the Thai Islander Beach Café. I used to live in an apartment across the road. It was the perfect place for a catch up after the mad rush of rainy day school run traffic. To be honest, I felt like staying in bed and watching the chickens singing and dancing in the rain. But getting up and getting Poppy to school so I could enjoy a long overdue coffee with a couple of girlfriends turned out to be the right choice.



This is actually what I felt like ordering. Is it ever too early?

I should clarify, I don’t actually drink coffee anymore, so when I say, “Let’s go for coffee,” what I actually mean is, “Let’s meet somewhere and you have coffee and I’ll find out how they make their chai and probably end up, when they say they make it with syrup or powder, ordering a soy hot chocolate or an Earl Grey instead.”

Like, when I say I’m taking a break, I’m not actually taking a break.


I ordered Earl Grey without asking about their chai. I wanted no complications. I didn’t take a photo for Instagram and I didn’t check in on Facebook. I KNOW! I was feeling overwhelmed and outta’ control – not crazy outta’ control, but dreamy, floating, coasting, fairyland outta’ control (I would like to call it “surrender” but you and I both know I’ve got a way to go before I can claim “surrender”), as if nothing today would matter. But here’s what matters.


All three of us had a busy day on the cards, and we stopped. We didn’t stop for long but we each committed to teasing open a little crack in time, in between our other appointments and deadlines to say, “Yes, let’s!”


Let’s enjoy stillness rather than rushing about.


Let’s cherish each other’s company rather than quietly, politely ignoring each other’s just as crazy busy existence.


Let’s imagine for just one hour that we have several hours to spend together, to hear about each other’s joys, fears, successes and challenges.


Let’s feel supported, admired and valued for whom we have become.


Let’s leave feeling nourished, inspired and reenergised.


Let’s promise to catch up again soon and actually catch up again soon.


While we were chatting away and finishing tea and coffee (and chocolates – hot beverages at BV are served with a chocolate and doesn’t that just make your day?), a tiny sparrow came in out of the rain. It perched on the back of a chair nearby and appeared to be listening in. I don’t profess to see anything profound in that; it’s just that a tiny sparrow came in from the rain and found warmth and a safe place to be for a moment.


It seems it’s just as difficult for me to say yes as it is to say no. But knowing when to say yes, and feeling happy rather than guilty about doing so, is maybe more important at the moment. They say the lessons you need to learn in life keep turning up until you learn them. Looks like I’m staying busy for a bit longer.




Reality Bites – Australia’s Premier Literary Nonfiction Festival launches tonight! The program is online today! Check out


The Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival Youth Section begins tonight and continues until Sunday. Details on the website. Check out






Sunshine Coast Theatre Festival and the question of reviews and social media…


Remember when I said I was going to post every Friday, my column from the local rag, the Sunshine Coast Daily? Yeah? No. That hasn’t happened and you haven’t asked for it! But here’s my column from last week (Friday August 8 2014), which they actually printed without editing very much. Mostly, this column, somewhere between submitting and printing, has become a dead easy “What’s On?” list of things to see on the Sunshine Coast and often I’ll begin it with a comment on the state of the local arts scene. But I always wanted to throw into this space some of the harder questions too. Like, what is it we’re all doing? And, why are we doing it? And, what’s the use of reviewing what we’re doing if we continue to do just exactly what we’ve always been doing? #justasking


What makes this much more interesting than the fact that I felt the need to write it in the first place, is the way it was presented on the page, beneath a photo I didn’t submit, beside a “review” that no one saw coming because the other columnist on the page tends to write exclusively about his own theatre company and their productions. Isn’t media manipulation a funny thing? Separated, and published over different weeks, a parallel would not have even been drawn, but due to savvy editing and fascinating timing (could be a full moon thing), I came under fire on social media for presenting an opinion with which some people didn’t agree.




As I’ve explained to concerned friends and family over the weekend, I’m a blogger, I’m a writer, I’m a reviewer, and because I’m confident enough to put myself out there, it’s no surprise (and certainly not the end of the world!), when somebody has a problem with something I’ve said. I know they’d like to think they are all-powerful and all-knowing, with a convincing enough argument to band together a legion of fans in a vitriolic thread (for what purpose, I don’t know), but you know what? I’ve come to realise the trolls and haters who comment without thinking first are just little wizards of oz, hiding their insecure, trembling, self righteous little selves behind a great big curtain called a keyboard. Sam and I agree (What? I know! Surprise!), I must still be so naive! Because it genuinely surprises me every time to see somebody’s true colours online. Do they actually think they’re anonymous on Facebook?! Do they genuinely not realise that everyone knows everyone on Facebook?! OOPS! HA! I used to worry more about them and their opinions, and I do – of course I do – feel the awful sting of a snide remark or cruel comment. Who doesn’t? But then, and I thank you Brisbane community for helping me to move on after some interesting learning experiences, including Jekyll & Hyde and The Truth About Kookaburras, I take a breath and look at how wonderful every day is. Other than travelling the world (and we’re working on it!), we actually have everything we have set out to get. And we do love giving back. It makes me wonder what sort of lives the haters have. I learned very early, at school, that kids with less confidence would say whatever it took to make themselves feel better (but did they really feel better? Really?)… It’s actually laughable. I actually can’t believe some of the things people feel comfortable saying on social media. I wonder why they don’t say them to my face? I see them often enough! The Sunshine Coast is not a big pond! Isn’t it funny to really see someone for who they are? Luckily, I’m blessed with actual friends, and a supportive family and husband who are able to point out to me if I ever forget it –






Now let’s get some things straight, just in case you’ve been following the wrong Facebook threads.


Sam and I have only ever been supportive of local community theatre but the truth is, we are in the game now for slightly different reasons. In addition to “having fun” and being social, we want to continue to produce professional productions. We’re so proud of our original pieces, and of our recent success at Noosa Long Weekend Festival. It’s true, we expect a higher standard from everybody involved in our productions and THAT’S WHY WE PAY THEM. This is the fundamental difference between what we do and what is accomplished by the haters involved in their amateur groups. There is always going to be merit in treading the boards for free and for fun – it’s how we learned a heap of basic skills and developed enormous confidence too – but we decided a few years ago to try to make it pay, and now that it does so we’ll continue to focus on doing more of the same. You can argue that the quality of the productions are the same as your amateur efforts but in actual fact they’re usually not. How do I know? Because I’ve seen what you’ve been doing. And in the past there have been times when you’ve asked for feedback and I’ve offered it. Whether or not you’ve taken it on board, or even used it as a starting point to simply reconsider or reflect on what it is you’re doing, has been up to you. And we’ve certainly seen you improve…or not.


To see that I’m right, you should really get out more. Go see “good” theatre. Go see MORE theatre so you start to see for yourself what “good” looks like. You never have to take my word for it! Quite simply, Sam and I set our own standards and with a production budget we can afford to see that we reach them. We have a core ensemble – and it’s a true ensemble – and we will always welcome into that awesome little team, people with a professional approach to match our own. If you’re a performer (or stage manager or designer or techie) aspiring to greater heights, let us know. You don’t have to work for free anymore on the Sunshine Coast! Hooray! On the other hand, if you’re happy to do so, if you’re totally okay with the way you’re currently presenting on stage (and off), go ahead and keep supporting your local community group and having a ball! Cheers!




So. Sam is still the President of the Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance, I’m still writing the column for the paper, we are both on the Noosa Long Weekend Festival board and programming committee, I’m on the Matilda Committee, and we are still directing, coaching, consulting, emceeing, promoting and supporting many local artists and events for free. We actually do far more for free, still, than for dollars. And that’s okay too, although we are more selective now about the people and charities we choose to support. We can only do so much. But we truly value community theatre so we continue to support it. We’ve always walked the talk. I thought that much was pretty obvious but I guess when some-unenlightened-body gets a bee in their bonnet they forget the big picture. It actually infuriates me momentarily, to see and hear criticism from those who purport to know us or to know better. But, sure, you’re entitled to your opinion too. Just maybe think twice before putting it online.




SCD Arts Friday August 8 2014


We know the Sunshine Coast has talent, and some of us can even recognise excellence when we see it on stage, however; I miss the days of legitimate local theatre reviews, which we used to enjoy via this publication, thanks to an arrangement with Ian Austin, professional playwright and critic. Those of us involved in theatre at the time remember our early Saturday morning race to buy the Sunshine Coast Daily for Mr Austin’s insightful write-ups of local productions. Not only did the reviews provide valuable feedback from a respected theatrical identity, they gave potential audience members valid reasons to consider which productions they might be interested in supporting.


It’s all very well for each community theatre group to promote their own production, or for enthusiastic cross-promotion to continue happening – after all, we should be supporting each other’s endeavours – but to blatantly mislead the public and the talent about the standard of a local show when one has recently attended no other local shows with which to compare it is outrageous and irresponsible.


To my understanding, a review is certainly one’s personal response to a production, but it should also offer some truth in terms of what audiences may expect to experience at a show. This requires broad knowledge, an open mind and the acceptance that honesty does not necessarily initiate or nurture friendships.


Amongst my peers, the theatre reviewers feel a degree of responsibility to the creatives, but also to audiences. Over the last five years I have attended, on average, 1-2 professional theatrical productions a week, and during festival time that number increases. What kind of reviewer would I be if I proclaimed every production just as excellent as the next? Or a mediocre production the most impressive? I don’t presume to help box office sell tickets – that’s what marketing collateral is for – but I do appreciate the opportunity to offer people a fair assessment of a show, allowing them to make up their own minds as to whether or not they might enjoy it.


It’s an unfortunate fact that theatre reviewing in this country is not valued enough by the industry, nor by the publications who seek content (both in print and online) to provide any remuneration for the job. Perhaps if it were a paid position, and genuine feedback was taken on board by those who insist on putting productions together, our audiences could reasonably expect a greater degree of excellence on local stages and attend the theatre more often, which in turn would help to sell tickets and keep our local theatre thriving. I wonder what the theatre companies, venues, councils and arts funding bodies might think of that? What do you think?






Next up, Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance is hosting the largest theatre festival on the South East Queensland Drama circuit. This means, starting this Friday, we’ll be at The Lind, Nambour, for 10 days of workshops, forums, debates and one-act plays. We have a record number of youth entries across the final weekend of the festival and some new and familiar faces competing in the open section, which takes place this weekend.



Forum Panellists are Mahana Currie, Robyn Ernst (BYTE), Ian Mackellar (Noosa Long Weekend Festival) and Ian Williams, discussing Sunshine Coast Theatre – Past, Present, Future. The debate will see Mark Darin (MIX FM), Joy Marshall and Marina de Jager argue the merits of musical theatre with Gail Denver, Errol Morrison and Frank Wilkie. These events cost just $5 to attend and give you the chance to mix with the local makers and lovers of live theatre.



We welcome special guest adjudicator, Margi Brown Ash, Director of Hedonism’s Second Album, which opens on Thursday night at La Boite.



For SCTF14 details and bookings check out






Unlock Your Style with Nikki Parkinson from


Unlock Your Style

by Nikki Parkinson




You know I’m a big fan of Sunshine Coast friend and phenomenal blogger businesswoman extraordinaire, Nikki Parkinson, from




Now based in Brisbane and set to take over the world with her no-fuss, back-to-basics approach to styling women everywhere, Nikki launched her debut book – a style bible inspired by her blog – in Maroochydore and Noosa this week. Taking the time to stop by two completely contrasting venues to catch up with friends and fans, Nikki appeared on Wednesday night at Tony Kelly’s hip new Ocean Street burger joint, Hello Harry, and on Thursday at beautiful berardo’s in Hastings Street, Noosa, for a lunch event co-hosted by Mary Ryan’s Noosa.




I stepped out on Wednesday night with darling Min of White House Celebrations, with whom we’re currently planning the RACQ CareFlight Sunshine Coast Gala Ball (y’all better book for it! You know this event sells out!), after changing out of Lorna Jane Active flashies (I had my first aid update all day, kids; stylin’ at NFTI!) and into black leather pants and my fave brown leather jacket – that’s right #doubleleather – adding the Anna Purna, which features in Nikki’s book, and a pair of three-seasons-ago from-the-vault vintage black ankle boots. Thanks to my boot guy in Buderim (he’s your boot guy too, if you have any sense at all), they are allowed out again. Min and I arrived with time to spare, so we chatted with owner, Tony Kelly, outside on the street before heading into his groovy venue for bubbles and lots of fun with, naturally, our most stylish friends. WE MISS YOU, GENINE!




Our emcee for the evening was the beautiful Kim Morrison, of Twenty8 Essentials, who reminded us of when she and Fleur Whelligan were researching their book, Like Chocolate for Women, they realised the key to their message lay in little Mia’s take on beauty (“Beauty is being yourself with a sparkle”), and how Nikki so easily, with her styling initiatives, including The Model and Me and #everydaystyle, inspires women to put the sparkle into their unique style regardless of age or budget. Heartfelt words of congratulations came also from Simone Merlo and Maria Faulder. MARIA, I’M SORRY ABOUT THE HAIR! I should never have opted for punctuality. #suitethreehairandbeauty #ambassadorfail






So many gorgeous women, so many gorgeous, wise words; it’s easy to feel grateful for yet another opportunity to be in the presence of so many inspiring women. Now, if only I could get my act together and step up too!


Nikki is a terrific speaker; I never tire of hearing from her. She is one of the most authentic “authentic” women I know (I tire of the term being overused!), and she has genuinely worked her way to the top of the Australian blogosphere, picking up awards, an agent and a publisher along the way. Nikki has also made a point of always stopping and supporting others on their blogging and styling journeys, earning extra street cred for her boundless generousity.


Nikki noted that her book is a sign of a major shift within the publishing industry, or perhaps it’s an additional layer – I wasn’t live tweeting so I’m not quoting – in that we are beginning to see more and more blogs become books. (Lorelei Vashti’s Dress, Memory is the next one we’ll look at here. Pre-order it online). I’m sure I’m not the only one to subscribe to the blog, follow on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, buy the e-book and then race out to buy the book in its printed form as well! I love Rhonda Hetzel’s blog as well as her first couple of books so I recently did exactly that! I often remind Mum when she tells me, “Oh, you don’t need that!” that I do, I really do; I need my own (signed) copy! #firstworldprivileges




Unlock Your Style has something for everyone. It’s a workbook, outlining simple steps to guide you through the process of literally unlocking your style, based on your history, shopping habits, lifestyle and budget. It’s also a personal story that elicits frequent smiles because we can all relate to the classic style “mistakes”, which Nikki recounts unapologetically. We’ve all been there; we’ve all sported THAT fringe, THAT perm, THAT maternity dress, THOSE SHOES. HA! I love Nikki’s comments regarding social media – her thoughts on envy and “the time vortex that is Pinterest” especially – and I will admit that I read Chapter 4: The Wardrobe Edit twice before deciding to write this piece rather than open a bottle of wine and BEGIN IT. THE WARDROBE EDIT I MEAN. But begin it I will because BACK TO BASICS, Y’ALL! #butilovemythreethousandshowponyseasonalpieces



In Unlock Your Style, Nikki includes a heap of real life, tried and tested products, which have been featured on the blog, and fave brands separated into user-friendly categories including Occasion Wear, Effortless Casual (so essential for life on the Sunshine Coast!), and Modern Corporate. Add to that an extensive list of beauty tips, and a couple of handy cheat sheet morning beauty routines (The Two-Minute Routine, The Seven-Minute Routine), and this easily becomes a book you can justify buying multiple times. If you don’t end up with a few copies to pass onto sisters, daughters, friends, your mum and Grandma, I guarantee you’re going to end up replacing your own copy more than once!


Written with good-natured humour and jam packed with amusing anecdotes and hot tips, this is a Trinny and Susannah type style guide in the best sense of the word, marketed to women over twenty-eight but nevertheless, in content and tone, encouraging women of all ages to strip their wardrobe back to basics and discover the confidence to give us the “spark” that comes from wearing well selected garments and accessories we love.


True style comes from within. When we’ve finally recognised it, why not project it to the world with a great outfit and a pop of perfect colour on the lips? Who are we not to shine? We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?



Are you ready to shine?




Join Nikki’s #UYS community online


Attend one of the remaining launch events


Buy Unlock Your Style in print or online




Additional images by Alicia Aberley. Check out more event pics on Facebook





Sunshine Coast Arts April 11 – 18 2014


SCD Arts Friday April 11 2014


Xanthe Coward



There is always so much on, is it any wonder we struggle to fit it all in? But with the new-look Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance website, at least we have no more excuses when it comes to finding out about what’s on. The website ( has all the audition, production and booking details you need to see and be involved in local live theatre. With tickets just a click away it makes scheduling a fun social night out or a hot date at the theatre a no brainer. Enjoy full-scale musicals, dramas, comedies, reviews and one-act plays at a theatre near you. Get involved by emailing your local theatre company or jumping onto their Facebook page and offering your skills and enthusiasm. Community theatre is a hobby for some and a training platform for a professional career for others. No matter your level of involvement, from audience member to cast member, you’ll be glad you connected with other local theatre lovers and theatre makers. For details check out



Ira Levin’s intriguing murder mystery, directed by Chris Mills, will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish! Suspense mounts steadily as the plot twists and turns with devilish cleverness in this play within a play. Season continues April 9, 11 & 12 at 8pm and April 12 at 2pm. Bookings or call 5441 1814


Pirates to Pinafore

It’s an all-star cast of performing the complete works of Gilbert and Sullivan in just 89 minutes! Starring Philip Gould as Sir Arthur Sullivan, alongside veteran comic actor, Brian Hannan as W.S. Gilbert, Pirates to Pinafore delivers all the hits and highlights of the thirteen G&S operettas we have come to know and love, including songs from Pirates of Penzance, H.M.S. Pinafore and The Mikado. Noosa Arts Theatre April 11 &12 at 7:30pm. Matinees April 12 at 1pm & April 13 at 2pm. Bookings or call 5449 9343


The Gentleman Magician

Bruce Glen, The Gentleman Magician, says, “Magic isn’t just for children – why should they have all the fun?” It’s a one-man magic show for adults only, which will challenge you to explore your imagination without a single top hat or rabbit involved. Noosa Arts Theatre Saturday May 3 at 1pm & 7:30pm. Bookings


Mothers’ Celebration Concert

Treat mum to a very special concert featuring Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir and Oriana Youth Choir singing all her musical favourites from their extensive repertoire. A scrumptious afternoon tea is included in the ticket price. Buderim Memorial Hall Sunday May 4 at 2pm. Bookings



Directed by Anne Grant, Barmaids is about Val and Nancy’s response to change when management decides to replace them with topless popsies. Saturated with humour, karaoke, and a chook raffle too. The Lind from May 16. Bookings




Sweet Charity

Charity Hope Valentine is a taxi dancer who longs for love, but has bad luck with men. Auditions at Coolum Civic Centre Monday April 7 at 8pm and Wednesday April 9 at 7pm. Details


Jerry’s Girls

Jerry’s Girls celebrates the music and lyrics of award-winning Broadway composer, Jerry Herman, in a two-hour musical evening. Information night at Noosa Arts Theatre Wednesday April 16 at 7:30pm. Auditions at Noosa Arts Theatre Wednesday April 30 at 7pm (soloists) and Sunday May 4 at 10am (ensemble). Details


 SCD Arts Saturday April 19 2014



The King and I


Local performer, Patrice Tipoki (Fantine in the upcoming touring professional production of Les Miserables and recently seen in A Little Night of Music for MontroseAccess and Tipoki Productions’ Songs For a New World), made her professional musical theatre debut as one of the Royal Children in Gordon-Frost’s 1991 production of The King and I.


Tomorrow night John Frost and Opera Australia present the Australian premiere of the acclaimed revised production of The King and I at QPAC. Final tickets for the limited seven-week season were released this week so I hope you got online and got yours. Why is it important to see this production? For the same reasons it’s always important to see as much excellent live theatre as possible. A wonderful show with a rich story and endearing characters, sumptuous costumes and memorable music (with songs dubbed by Marni Nixon, you’ll recall, for Deborah Kerr in the movie version), which lifts us up and carries us away for a little while to another world. Live theatre is the ultimate escapism. And for those of us who are involved at some level in the industry, it also helps us to recognise and appreciate what “good” looks and sounds like. And we must know what good is if we’re going to claim to produce it!


This particular production features 37 Brisbane children on stage. Many of them, just as Patrice did, are making their debut professional appearance. There are so many reasons to catch this lavish production. Bookings



James Millar Joins Jesus Christ Suoper


Special guest at this year’s Sunshine Coast Theatre Alliance Soiree, James Millar, has secured a role in the US Arena Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, which we saw here last year.


James is first understudy to Pontius Pilate, and joins Incubus lead singer, Brandon Boyd (Judas), Destiny’s Child’s Michelle Williams (Mary Magdalene) and Ben Forster (Jesus) in a 50-city tour. For details check out



Bruce Glen The Gentleman Magician

This is a truly intriguing one-man magic show without involving a single top hat or white rabbit. Bruce Glen, The Gentleman Magician, will challenge you to explore your imagination. Marvel at extraordinary magic, together with “tall tales and true”, inspired by the charm and wonder of some of our greatest storytellers. Noosa Arts Theatre Saturday May 3 at 1pm & 7:30pm. Bookings


Mothers’ Celebration Concert

Celebrate mum with Sunshine Coast Oriana Choir and Oriana Youth Choir and enjoy a lovely afternoon tea at Buderim Memorial Hall Sunday May 4 at 2pm. Bookings



A great Australian comedy written by Katherine Thompson and directed by Anne Grant, Barmaids tells the tale of Val and Nancy as they face the prospect of being replaced by topless popsies. The Lind from May 16 at 8pm. Bookings




Jerry’s Girls

Jerry’s Girls celebrates the music and lyrics of award-winning Broadway composer Jerry Herman in a two-hour musical entertainment. Auditions Wednesday April 30 by appointment via


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