Tuesday 27 April 2021

The Royale, Lincoln Center Theater, online until 16 May 2021 ****1/2


Written by Marco Ramirez

Online- Lincoln Center Theater(sic) Private Reels via  Broadway on Demand

Available until 16 May 2021

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: ****1/2

 This review published only on this blog. KH


  Clarke Peters, Khris Davis

‘I’m gonna change things!” says Khris Davis as the charismatic, African-American heavyweight boxer, Jay ‘The Sport’ Jackson, in The Royale by Marco Ramirez.


But can Jay risk winning his bout against the white champion, Bernard Bixby, when it may change things for both the better and the worse for his African-American community?


Set between 1905 and 1910 in various places in the US, Ramirez’s confronting and compelling play is directed imaginatively and deftly by Rachel Chavkin who conjures a dramatic and conflict-driven world that seems to be even more perilous outside the ring.

Friday 23 April 2021

Hamlet - The Radio Play, Online until 25 April 2021 ****


By William Shakespeare 

Produced by Melbourne Shakespeare Company & Victorian Theatre Company 

Online to April 25 2021 2hrd 20 mins in 5 separate acts 

Tics at: MelbourneShakespeareCo (stream or download) 

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: **** (4)

This review published only on this blog. KH

 Brian Lipson (L) , Mathew Connell (C) pic by Jak Scanlon


Having seen multiple versions of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet in theatres, it is a treat to listen to this Hamlet –The Radio Play walking in the park or relaxing at home.


This audio production in five, downloadable acts, is deftly directed by Kurtis Lowden. It is evocative and colourful (Yes! Colourful!) with many fine performances of Shakespeare’s silken language, the stand outs being Mathew Connell as Hamlet, Brian Lipson as Polonius and Robert Menzies as The Ghost of Hamlet's father. These three are vocally impeccable and expressively interpret the poetic language.


Connell’s voice is honeyed and warm, subtly and intimately seeping into our ears. We can almost feel his breath on our cheeks as his Hamlet muses and struggles over his mother, Gertrude’s (Evelyn Krape) marriage to Claudius (Mark Wilson), his father’s brother, who is also his father’s murderer.

Berlin, MTC, 22 April 2021 ****


Written by Joanna Murray-Smith, Melbourne Theatre Company

MTC Southbank Theatre until 22 May 2021

Reviewer: Kate Herbert


This review published only in this blog. KH

Grace Cummings & Michael Wahr, pic Jeff Busby


Berlin by Joanna Murray-Smith is a two-hander that shifts from seduction to philosophical discussion before taking a turn into complex, social and political issues.

 The play, directed by Iain Sinclair, takes place in Charlotte’s (Grace Cummings) hipster apartment (design, Christine Smith) in an expensive part of Berlin. Having met Tom (Michael Wahr), an Australian tourist, in the bar where she works, she invites him to her home after he tells her he has no accommodation.


Their playful, confident and sensual seduction is a like a game of cat and mouse – or cat and cat – as they tease and entice each other with wine, poetry and half-truths.

Thursday 15 April 2021

Charlie and the War Against the Grannies, 14 April 2021 ****


Written by Alan Brough with Sarah Kriegler, based on book by Alan Brough

Melbourne Comedy Festival

At Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne Wed 14 to Sat 17 April

Fri 16 Apr: 10am,12pm; Sat 17 Apr: 10am,12pm,3pm; Sun 24 April 12pm is a Relaxed Performance

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: **** (4)

 This review published only on this blog. KH

Anna Francesca Armenia and Alan Brough

Charlie and the War Against the Grannies, written by Alan Brough with Sarah Kriegler, is an action-filled, fun and funny performance and the children were fully engaged and entertained from start to finish.


Charlie (Andy Conaghan) calls himself a digital orphan, meaning his parents are permanently attached to their iPhones and pay him no attention. Funny thought when you consider that we call youngsters digital natives.


Charlie spends his time with his friend, Hils (Anna Francesca Armenia), who wants to join the army and consistently barks orders in army lingo, such as, ‘affirmative’, ‘negative’, at ease’. Charlie translates Hils’ language for us.

Jungle Bungle ONLINE, 14 April 2021 ***


Jungle Bungle written & created by Craig Christie

TheatreWorks streamed online 14 & 15 April 2021

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: ***

This review published only on this blog. KH

Meg McKibbin, Rhys Wilson


Jungle Bungle, written and created by Craig Christie and directed by James Coley, is a children’s musical adventure about Oliver’s (Rhys Wilson) first day at a new school where he meets Claire (Meg McKibbin), who becomes his new friend.


This performance was live streamed from Theatre Works, so some of the detail in sound and audience activity may have been lost in translation.


It begins with an introduction by Mitch Ralston, dressed in a safari outfit, who teaches the family audience their participatory words and actions. When they hear the words, ‘Life is crazy! Whoa-Oh-Oh. Life is crazy!’ they must do crazy dancing. When they hear the lyrics ‘Safari A, Safari O’, they must mimic their favourite animal: monkey, elephant, lion or snake.


Oliver has changed schools often and is considered to be ‘weird and freaks other kids out’. He uses his trusty, but now faulty, compass to navigate the new school which is a dangerous jungle to Oliver. (The compass, we learn, tracks his emotions rather than cardinal directions.)


 Meg McKibbin, Rhys Wilson, Mitch Ralston

Impetuous Oliver wants to go camping, but sensible Claire resists as she needs to be home by 4pm. They go to Oliver’s garden to play but Claire is annoyed and frightened when they become lost, and she can’t reach her mum by phone. The garden is a jungle populated by unseen creatures and freaky noises, and the two get separated.


Although some songs are less than successful, Look Before You Leap has a lively tune and clear message for kids, while Safari A, Safari O, is a part jungle beat, part rap.


Ralston, as Peter Pan, prompts the dance moves during his song, Life is Crazy! which is the most cohesive and entertaining part of the show, with the optimum participation for the live family audience.


The message in A Bit Unusual, is a little too obvious, but clear for kids: it’s OK to be yourself and a bit unusual. It becomes clear that Oliver is fearful and isolated and has been running away from fear itself.


Meg McKibbin as Claire has a pretty, tuneful voice but Rhys Wilson as Oliver slips off key on occasion.


The very basic introductory song and dance moves and Ralston’s directions suggest that the show is for very young children. However, Oliver and Claire are played older, perhaps Year 5 or 6. They are relatively independent, use mobile phones, and their songs have complex lyrics and melodies that do not encourage or include any participation.


The narrative needs stronger dramatic structure, the action on stage has little physicality apart from the dance moves during songs, and the dialogue sometimes rambles.


This production is probably more engaging in the theatre but, if you can’t or don’t want to sit in the glass boxes at Theatre Works, streaming is a good option for kids’ holiday entertainment.


By Kate Herbert

Wednesday 14 April 2021

Que Será Será, Midsumma Festival online 14 April 2021 ****


Que Será Será: A Life’s Journey of Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression

By Zelda AKA Judith Z. Miller.  Part of Midsumma Festival (Online)

Online- 19 April to 5 May 2021

Tickets Free/Donation Requested: https://www.midsumma.org.au/whats-on/events/que-sera-sera-a-life-s-journey-of-sexual-orientation-gender/

Reviewer: Kate Herbert (14 April 2021)

Stars: **** (4)

 This review published only on this blog. KH

 Zelda AKA Judith Z Miller


The title of this gently confronting and evocative storytelling performance says it all. It is A Life’s Journey of Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression told by the charming and engaging Zelda (AKA Judith Z. Miller) who opens her heart and her life to the audience.


With her expressive face, sharp features and multi-coloured beaded hair, Zelda reads her equally colourful life’s story while standing at a lectern, imbuing her memories with passion, joy and melancholy as images of her younger self are projected behind her.

Tuesday 6 April 2021

The Listies in ROFLSHALBOWCO, 6 April 2021 *****



Rolling On The Floor Laughing So Hard A Little Bit Of Wee Comes Out! by The Listies

Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne, until 18 April, 2021 (11am Tues-Sun)

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: *****(5)

This review published only on this blog. KH

Matt Kelly & Richard Higgins - The Listies

Forget about the night-time stand-up comedy and just go see The Listies doing ‘kidult’ comedy in their riotous and ridiculous new show, ROFLSHALBOWCO.


Straight jokester, Rich (Richard Higgins), and goofy, rubbery Matt (Matt Kelly) are the hottest cult kids’ duo in and out of town. Just saying the title of their show, ROFLSHALBOWCO, provokes roars of naughty laughter from the kids. (Yes, it means, ‘Rolling On The Floor Laughing So Hard A Little Bit Of Wee Comes Out!’).


On an almost empty stage, the pair cavort chaotically, making fart jokes, telling fractured fairy tales and singing Death Metal lullabies – well, Matt sings those.

Monday 5 April 2021

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Online 4 April, 2021 ***1/2



Written by Christopher Durang

Lincoln Center Theater (sic) Online at Broadway on Demand until 11 April 2021

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: ***1/2

 This review published only on this blog.  KH

L-R: Sonia- Kristine Nielsen , Masha- Sigourney Weaver & Vanya - David Hyde Pierce


Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, by Christopher Durang, is a parody of Anton Chekhov’s style, incorporating versions of characters from various Chekhov plays into a modern, American setting.


The play is a partially successful comedy about regret and missed opportunities that scatters existential commentary amidst broad farce. It feels like a sketch that has been stretch to a full-length play.

Sunday 4 April 2021

Jesus Christ Superstar (2012 UK), Online 4 April 2021 *****


Jesus Christ Superstar, Arena Spectacular (2012)

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics by Tim Rice

Online Youtube, The Shows Must Go On (UK production 2012): Superstar 2012 UK

Reviewer: Kate Herbert 4 April 2021 

Stars: *****(5)

See also my review of Australian production 2013: Review Superstar 2013

 This review appears only on this blog. KH

Tim Minchin as Judas Iscariot

Laurence Connor's inspired UK Arena production of Jesus Christ Superstar catapults the story of Jesus into the 21st century with the momentum and urgency of a youthful, political revolution. This production streamed on Youtube over 2021 Easter weekend.


Laurence Connor's inspired UK Arena production of Jesus Christ Superstar catapults the story of Jesus into the 21st century with the momentum and urgency of a youthful, political revolution. This production streamed on Youtube over 2021 Easter weekend.