Thursday 23 December 2021

Summer shows outdoors- Australian Shakespeare Company 2021-2022

I've not seen these productions yet but there are plenty of outdoor dhow by Australian Shakespeare Company. 

NB: All words below are NOT mine. They are from ASC website. KH

Saturday 11 December 2021

Dispatches from the Frontline, La Mama, 11 December 2021 ****



Produced & designed by Geraldine Cook-Dafner & Naomi Edwards

Part of La Mama re-opening War-rak/Banksia Festival

At La Mama, Sat 11 December 2021 at 8.30am & live streamed

Youtube Link:

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: ****

Dispatches from the Frontline is an evocative and resonant reading by Geraldine Cook-Dafner of excerpts from the diary of a Victorian nurse, Sister Nan Reay, who served for four gruelling years on the frontline of the battlefields of World War One.


 With just her voice and gentle, magnetic presence, Cook-Dafner transports the audience –both live at La Mama and live streamed to our homes – to the Front in France and the field hospitals in which the medical staff from Australia and other countries struggle day after day and year after year, to repair the damaged bodies and spirits of the soldiers. Many cannot be saved or restored. Projected images provide haunting echoes of the war.


Seeing this piece, directed with a deft but light hand by Naomi Edwards, in the newly re-opened La Mama, performed in from of the La Mama fireplace and dark red brick was already intensely emotional, but it is deeply affecting to hear Cook-Dafner enlivening the words of Sister Nan Reay and painting pictures of the horrors of war, appalling injuries and pointless loss of life.


Nan wonders repeatedly what the point is of such senseless war. Her quiet insights resonate with our own experience of global conflict and of a global pandemic that has touched all our lives and her tenacity and courage are reminder of our gratitude to our own, tireless and selfless health workers.


Dispatches from the Frontline is a vivid provocative, challenging and profoundly emotional experience made even more poignant because these are the words of a real, Australian woman living and working as a nurse 100 years ago.


Watch the performance on YouTube:


by Kate Herbert

Sunday 5 December 2021

Cinderella Panto online -link to trailer

Cinderella Panto - Online

Available at until 22 Jan 2022.

See the trailer on this link: Cinderella Panto trailer (UK)

Running time: 90 mins. Subtitles available
Suitable for all ages. From £25* per household.

I haven't seen the entire show so this is not a review.

image from trailer:  Lucy-Jane Quinlan, Adam Price & Peter Duncan

 It's Christmas and the British Panto is back and this time it's online for you to watch with the family. It's littered with Panto dames and goofy songs etc.


"Peter Duncan’s Cinderella is now online for families, in cinemas and ready to stream to your school or group! 

"Family favourite and Blue Peter TV star Peter Duncan is back, following the phenomenal success of his pantomime film of Jack and the Beanstalk in 2020. He plays Billie Eyelash, an Ugly Sister, and has written and directed this spectacular, joyous new musical film of the pantomime Cinderella.

"Filmed entirely on location and packed with comedy, slosh and slapstick, it finally brings the pantomime genre to the big screen. You can boo, cheer and shout ‘he’s behind you’ to the characters on screen and sing-a-long to the songsheet at the end. 


Friday 3 December 2021

Ghost Quartet, (online), 3 December 2021 ***



What: Ghost Quartet (online version), Music, Lyrics & Text by David Molloy

Produced by Antipodes Theatre

View online:, filmed at Meat Market Stables

Reviewer: Kate Herbert


 This review published only on this blog. KH

L-R Willow Sizer, Hany Lee, Devid Butler-006-Jack Dixon-Gunn

Ghost Quartet by David Molloy, is a ghostly song cycle constructed around a mash-up of familiar and unfamiliar stories including Arabian Nights and Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher and drawing on a range of eclectic musical styles.


In this chamber musical directed by Brandon Pape, stories meander and characters merge, which is initially confounding, but eventually the bold tapestry of tall tales become clearer. Characters are reincorporated and live in multiple narrative worlds. For example, two women called Rose and Pearl are sisters, lovers, friends or mother and daughter.


A woman breaks her camera, someone falls from a subway platform, parents worry about their child who obsesses over a ghost, an astronomer wants to sing, four friends drink whiskey, a dancer laments. Characters merge, tell stories, then split apart only to appear again in another reality.


The cycle is arranged in four sections, like four sides of a double album, each song begin announced as “Side One, Track 1”, and so on, a device that breaks up the momentum and flow at times.


Four singer/musicians play all roles and instruments: David Butler (piano), Hany Lee (percussion, zither, piano), Patrick Shnur (cello, guitar), Willow Sizer (drums, guitar, ukulele).


The end of Side 3 is compelling and successful when three songs – Bad Men, The House of Usher-Part 3, and Prayer – ebb and flow with changing styles and rhythms like a musical theatre piece, incorporating dialogue, narrative and characters effectively into the songs.


The final song, The Wind and Rain, is a beautifully evocative and genuinely moving and melancholy lament in the style of an English or Irish folk tune. It is the tale of two sisters, a lover, jealousy and death and a fiddle that is strung with the dead girl’s long brown hair. I’m still singing it!


Ghost Quartet is an appealing and diverse production performed by a versatile cast. It is a good sign that it even works when watched online!


By Kate Herbert



David Butler

Hany Lee

Patrick Shnur

Willow Sizer


Creative Team

Directed and Designed by BRANDON PAPE

Musical Director DAVID BUTLER

Costume Designer JODI HOPE

Lighting Designer KIT CUNNEEN

Sound Designer EVAN DRILL


Assistant Stage Manager HOLLY ANDERSON

Graphic Designer JULIAN LEON


Social Media Management by CHLOE TOWAN and AUBREY FLOOD



Song List


Side One

1. I Don’t Know

2. The Camera Shop

3. Starchild

4. Subway

5. Usher, Part 1

6. Soldier & Rose

7. Any Kind of Dead Person


Side Two

1. The Astronomer 

2. Family Meeting 

3. Four Friends

4. Fathers & Sons 

5. Usher, Part 2

6. The Telescope 

7. Tango Dancer 

8. Monk


Side Three

1. Lights Out

2. The Photograph 

3. Bad Men

4. Usher, Part 3

5. Prayer


Side Four

1. Hero

2. Midnight

3. The Wind & Rain

Thursday 25 November 2021

Archimedes War, (NO REVIEW) 24 Nov 2021


Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre, until 2 December 2021

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

After repeated cancellations and postponements during Lockdowns, Archimedes War by Melissa Reeves is finally on stage. Phew! I have not seen this production yet but here are some images and info for you. KH


Harry Musgrove with Richie Hallal, pic by Pia Johnson

Written by Melissa Reeves

Directed by Susie Dee

Performed by Daniela Farinacci, Jim Russell, Richie Hallal, Harry Musgrove, Jordan Fraser Trumble and Eva Seymour 

Set and Video design: Romanie Harper

Set and Costume Bethany J Fellows

Lighting design: Lisa Mibus

Sound: Ian Moorhead

From Media Release:
Fifteen-year-old Arki can’t shake the dead bodies of the players he’s killed in his online combat games on his PS4. His mother takes him to a psychiatrist who thinks he has PTSD. In her quest to help her son, she turns to those involved in real world war afflictions including a Major from the Australian Army and refugees from Afghanistan.

“Archimedes War was inspired by reading about the devastating effects of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on combatants and civilians. It explores the terrible mental cost of fighting or living with a war from the perspective of what happens back here at home. There is a cultural centrality to films and games about war that sits oddly with the fact that even as we were deeply involved, fighting a war in Afghanistan, back here in Australia, we were curiously unaware, even uninterested in what was going on,” said writer Melissa Reeves.

 Eva Seymour with Harry Musgrove, pic by Pia Johnson

Wednesday 24 November 2021

As You Like It, MTC, 18 Nov 2021 ***1/2



By William Shakespeare

At Southbank Theatre, MTC unitl 18 Dec 2021

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: ***1/2

 This review published only on this blog. KH


 James Mackay, Georgia Flood, Christie Whelan Browne

Welcome back, Melbourne theatre! We’re back in venues and shows are coming thick and fast in this festive season. Get thee to a theatre!


The MTC leaps out of the blocks with Simon Phillips’ lavish production of As You Like It which captures the playful strangeness of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy with a nod to its more introspective and philosophical moments.


The production looks glorious with an evocative design (Alicia Clements) that counterbalances the soaring pillars of a palace with the lush green and floral slopes of the magical Forest of Arden – sans woodland trees.


The show begins with faithful, old Adam (Richard Piper) and Orlando (James Mackay) crouched planting seedlings in the (fake) turf at the lip of the stage. The first half gallops along gleefully but the production stalls after interval when the novelty of the design and the cheery liveliness of the characters start to wear thin.


Musical interludes (music by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall) are welcome in the first half, but there are too many tunes in the second half and snatching songs from other Shakespeare plays seems unnecessary.


There are some delightful performances, particularly Piper’s Adam. Christie Whelan Browne is perky and playful as Rosalind, the young woman who cross-dresses as a boy and is giddy with love. Mackay plays Rosalind’s beloved Orlando as a romantic, naïve lad who is easily duped by Rosalind’s cross-dressing.


Despite feeling overly long, this is a diverting and visually compelling production.


by Kate Herbert



Phebe / As cast Natalie Abbott

Silvius / Band / As cast Laurence Boxhall

Celia Georgia Flood

Touchstone Daniel Frederiksen

Jaques de Boys / Band / As cast Jack Green

Audrey / Band / As cast Xani Kolac

Orlando James Mackay

Adam / Corin / Band Richard Piper

Oliver / Amiens Chris Ryan

Charles the Wrestler / William / Band / As cast Richard Sergeant

Jaques / Le Beau Tim Walter

Rosalind Christie Whelan Browne

Duke Frederick / Duke Senior / Band / As cast Shivantha Wijesinha


Creative Team

Director Simon Phillips

Set & Costume Designer Alicia Clements

Lighting Designer Nick Schlieper

Composers Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall

Musical Director & Additional Composition Ian McDonald

Associate Costume Designer John Van Gastel

Associate Lighting Designer Tom Willis

Assistant Director Tim Paige

Intimacy Coordinator Amy Cater

Fight Choreographer Lyndall Grant

Choreographer Andrew Hallsworth

Stage Manager Christine Bennett

Deputy Stage Manager Lisette Drew

Assistant Stage Manager Meg Richardson

Production Photography Jeff Busby

Rehearsal Photography Charlie Kinross

Sunday 3 October 2021

JSMR by Jessica Stanley 30 Sept 2021 ***


JSMR: an ASMR storytelling experience, by Jessica Stanley

By Spinning Plates during Melbourne Fringe Online

Online on Demand, Fringe:


Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: ***


Jessica Stanley in JSMR


Autonomous Sensory Meridian Reponse, or ASMR, is a peculiar sensory response that can be a “pleasant tingle you get when you listen to gentle whispering”. It can be employed as therapy for anxiety but it is also known to be a weird fetish that involves sexual arousal when a woman whispers close to a microphone.


Jessica Stanley explores ASMR from her own perspective as a person experiencing ASMR and its soothing effects. JSMR must be viewed/heard through headphones to achieve the full impact of the whispering, clicking, crackling, brushing sounds that feel so close to one’s ears.


In a series of quirky vignettes, characters and personal anecdotes, Stanley reveals the myriad views and uses of ASMR while tickling our sensitive nerve endings.


JSMR is intermittently compelling, sometimes slow-moving and more interesting for those who experience that tingling sensation on hearing whispering or almost inaudible sounds. At one hour, it feels a little too long, but it is strangely interesting.


By Kate Herbert


Tuesday 28 September 2021

Together Experiences - 3 videos from Arts Centre Melbourne Sept 2021

This looks interesting. Three video by artists. kh

Together Experiences -Arts Centre Melbourne -3 videos  

Media Release 28 Sept 2021
Arts Centre Melbourne has launched a powerful new storytelling campaign showcasing the importance of the performing arts to Victorians as it looks towards a future reopening. 

Together Experiences, an emotive series of short films created pre-COVID by Melbourne-based agency, Brands to life® shines a light on the unique and positive impact of the performing arts on the state’s diverse community. 

 Photo by Mark Gambino

The first three films focus on three individuals whose lives have been significantly impacted by the performing arts and Arts Centre Melbourne.

Choreographer Stephanie Lake discusses the creation of her large-scale work Colossus, an Arts Centre Melbourne commission and a lifelong dream to create a work exploring the complex unison and wild individuality of humans.

“There’s no question we’re in troubling times. There’s incredible division. A single leaf is interesting, but thousands of leaves moving in the wind is breathtaking,” says Lake.

Lauren Hayes, who was born blind, explains how audio description makes her theatre experience complete while Thomas Smith talks about Arts Centre Melbourne’s Tech Connect Regional Training Program which allowed him to pursue his dream of working in theatre from his home in Swan Hill.

The Together Experiences film series will be shared over nine weeks and lead into the time when Arts Centre Melbourne can begin welcoming artists back to its stages and audiences to its venues. The films will be shown through a digital media campaign as well as on Arts Centre Melbourne’s website and venue’s digital screens. 

“Since we closed our doors last year, COVID-19 has separated us: artists and arts workers from stages, audiences from venues,’’ says Arts Centre Melbourne CEO Claire Spencer AM.

“These films speak directly to our role as Victoria’s arts centre – a gathering place connecting all Victorians with the art that inspires them, and artists, makers and presenters with the stages where they belong.”