Thursday 30 June 2022

Here We Are Amongst You, Rawcus, REVIEW, 29 June 2022, The Age ***1/2

Devised and performed by Rawcus Ensemble

At Arts House, Queensberry St North Melbourne, until July 10, 2022

Reviewer: Kate Herbert 

 Stars:  ***1/2

This review was first published in The Age Arts online on Thur 30 June 2022 and then in print on (date TBC- Fri July 1?). 

Read the review in The Age online here: Here We Are Amongst You

Prue Stevenson with Rawcus Ensemble in Here We Are Amongst You.
Prue Stevenson with Rawcus Ensemble in Here We Are Amongst You. Credit:Sarah Walker

“For the next hour, you don’t have to do anything. We’ve got it.” This gentle introduction to Here We Are Amongst You, Kate Sulan’s final work with Rawcus, sets the audience at ease. There is a palpable sense of release and an audible sigh from the 50 people anticipating this intimate, almost meditative performance.

The audience sits in a single row of chairs arranged in a circle around the empty, central performance space. This is non-narrative, physical performance with a difference, devised and performed by an ensemble of idiosyncratic artists “with diverse minds, bodies and imaginations”. You need to watch this work with your heart as well as your mind and eyes.

The playful, exhilarating movement ebbs and flows: running, walking, turning, passing, veering, grouping, separating, slowing and speeding up to keep flowing without colliding. We feel the whoosh of air as runners whisk past, rushing from the centre past the audience to dart around behind the chairs. When they eventually stand still behind us, we hear their heavy breathing from the exertion.

Sunday 26 June 2022

Come Rain or Come Shine, MTC, REVIEW, June 24, 2022–The Age ★★★


Book by Carolyn Burns, Music by Tim Finn, Lyrics by Tim Finn & Simon Phillips

Based on the story by Kazuo Ishiguro

By Melbourne Theatre Company

MTC Southbank Theatre, until July 23
 This review first published in The Age Arts online on Sunday 26 June 2022, then in print on Monday 27 June 2022.  
Click the title link, Come Rain or Come Shine, to read my full review of this new, Australian musical at MTC. 
Or read review below.  KH
Angus Grant, Gillian Cosgriff, Pic Jeff Busby
The review:

New stage musicals are rare, and many recent offerings are based on existing source material or utilise a catalogue of well-known songs. A new, totally original and successful Australian musical is a unicorn. Come Rain or Come Shine is new and Australian, but a unicorn it is not; it is adapted from Kazuo Ishiguro’s short story and incorporates snatches of classic tunes – including Ray Charles’ poignant Come Rain or Come Shine – that eclipse the original songs.

This “boutique” musical, with book by Carolyn Burns, music by Tim Finn and lyrics by Finn and director, Simon Phillips, has a cast of only three, along with four musicians.

Saturday 25 June 2022

SIX, June 23, 2022, REVIEW, The Age *****


Book, Lyrics & Music by Toby Marlow & Lucy Moss

At Comedy Theatre, Melbourne, until August, 21 2022

Reviewer: Kate Herbert 

Stars: ***** (5)

See my review of SIX the musical  first published in The Age Arts online 24 June 2022 then in print Monday 27 June 2022. 

Or read review below. KH

 Loren Hunter,Chelsea Dawson, Phoenix Jackson Mendoza, Kala Gare, Kiana Daniele, Vidya Makan-Pic credit: James Morgan-Getty Images

Quote from review:

SIX sets the stage ablaze with its opening, rocking song, Ex-Wives, that introduces and gives voice to the six wives of Henry VIII – then proceeds to reframe and reimagine their “her-story” through a 21st century lens of modern gender politics and pop culture.


Six sets the stage ablaze with its opening, rocking song, Ex-Wives, that introduces and gives voice to the six wives of Henry VIII – then proceeds to reframe and reimagine their “her-story” through a 21st century lens of modern gender politics and pop culture.

This outstanding, dynamic production, with musical repertoire inspired by pop divas including Beyonce, Adele, Shakira, Sia and girl groups, was conceived by talented UK duo, Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss (book, lyrics, music), and is fiercely directed by Moss with Jamie Armitage. A tight, all-female, four-piece band, Ladies in Waiting, and evocative set (Emma Bailey) and lighting (Tim Deiling) complete the atmosphere.

Friday 24 June 2022

YUMMY ICONIC, REVIEW, June 22, 2022 – The Age ****


Meat Market Nth Melbourne until Sat June 25, 2022, then touring to London's West End

Stars: ****  (4)

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

This review was first published in The Age Arts online on on Friday 24 June, then in print on Thursday 24 June 2022.

Click this link: Yummy Iconic.Scroll down to the third review (past SIX and Harlequinade) to read Iconic review. (Part of a collection of reviews in The Age)

Or read review below. KH

Valerie Hex with bears in Yummy’s Iconic.Credit:Jacinta Oaten

The review:

 Iconic, a wickedly audacious, flamboyant drag and burlesque show by award-winning Australian cabaret company Yummy, tantalises with high-camp acts that satirise and celebrate pop culture, divas and icons.

An excitable audience sits on three sides of a catwalk, with the front row close enough to touch artists performing acts ranging from trapeze to striptease, magic and fan dancing, all accompanied by pulsating pop tunes.

The cast sashays onto the catwalk in a parade of eye-popping, extravagant costumes fashioned from lamé, velvet, patent leather, lycra or gossamer-thin fabrics in outrageous, backless, topless or bottomless outfits that reveal muscled bodies.

Wednesday 22 June 2022

Kids' Holiday Entertainment, June-July 2022, pub. in The Age, June 21 2022

Read my very first story for the Age Arts pages on this link to The Age:

Fart jokes and death metal lullabies-Kids hol shows 

This article first published in The Age Arts online on Tues 21 June 2022 and thereafter  in print. KH

The Listies in ROFL

The article: 

Children’s holiday entertainment springs to life in a burst of colour at the start of every school holiday break, then disappears as suddenly as it emerged. 

The field of events during June-July includes theatre, dance, circus, puppetry, comedy, magic and shows based on award-winning picture books. Most events have short runs, with some popping up for only one date.

One annual source of holiday diversion is the Roola Boola Children’s Arts Festival with a diverse program of performances and arts-based workshops at Chapel off Chapel in Prahran. A highlight is The ListiesROFL (Rolling On the Floor Laughing) which is precisely what kids do during the show. Forget adult stand-up and treat the whole family to some “kidult” comedy in this rambunctious and ridiculous show.

The Listies comprise straight jokester Rich (Richard Higgins) and goofy, rubbery Matt (Matt Kelly), who are the hottest cult kids’ duo in and out of town. ROFL was formerly known as ROFLSHALBOWCO, an impossible to pronounce acronym for Rolling On The Floor Laughing So Hard A Little Bit Of Wee Comes Out, a line which provokes peels of naughty giggles from kids. No, they weren’t forced to change their cheeky title because wowsers complained, but for a very practical reason: “It made Google searches a nightmare”, admits Kelly. And, frankly, ROFL is easier to say.

Wednesday 15 June 2022

Britney Spears: The Cabaret, Jan 18, 2012 ****1/2 Re-posted One show on 17 June 2022.

I'm re-posting this review of the show from Jan 2012. This show is doing one perfoormance on Fri 17 June, 2022. KH

By Dean Bryant

Midsumma Festival 

Chapel off Chapel, Prahran, Jan 18 to 29, 2012 

Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Jan 18, 2012

Stars: ****1/2
Published in Herald Sun on Mon, Jan 23, 2012 (See review on this blog of first production, Oct 7, 2010)

Christie Whelan in Britney Spears: The Cabaret

Nearly 18 months after the 2010 premier of Britney Spears: The Cabaret, the charismatic and mischievous Christie Whelan still makes us laugh and cry at her depiction of the vacuous but troubled pop star and her demented behaviour.

Whelan, with her versatile voice and wearing a frighteningly brief, black frock that reveals her knickers more than once, lights up the stage with Brit’s own hit songs and Dean Bryant’s mercilessly satirical versions of them.

Britney’s personal life is now less controversial with her upcoming, third wedding, but her past remains absurd and chaotic.

Tuesday 14 June 2022

Love’s Bitter Mystery by Steve Carey, online from 10 June 2022 ***


Filmed immersive theatre about James Joyce

Online from 10 June 2022

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

Stars: ***

 Get tics to view film online here:

This review published only on this blog. KH

 Tobias Miller, Jacqueline Whiting, pic from video

When a planned stage production cancels because. of the pandemic, what does a canny producer do? Put it on screen, of course!


Love’s Bitter Mystery, Steve Carey’s play about the young James Joyce (Tobias Miller) at the beginning of his career as a writer, was planned to be an immersive live production in 2020 but the Pandemic changed that and, six days before the opening, the company decided to transform it into a film.


Like the stage version, the 75 minute film focuses on the period of 1903-1904, a watershed year in young Jim’s (AKA James) life and explores his relationships with the two women he loved: his mother (Rebecca Morton) and Nora Barnacle (Jacqueline Whiting) who became his muse and eventually, his wife. June 16, 1904, the date Joyce met Nora on the streets of Dublin, now marks Bloomsday, the event that celebrates Joyce’s acclaimed book, Ullysses.