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REVIEW: SIX by Toby Marlow & Lucy Moss

Divorced, beheaded, died Divorced, beheaded, survived With this mnemonic, it’s easy to remember the fates of Henry VIII’s wives. If that’s all you wanna do.  The musical, SIX, now playing in Melbourne, wants you to know more about these women – divorcing them all from just being the wives of one King of England. Opening this week at the Comedy Theatre, the musical is a concert that starts off by pitting the women against each other in competition. Which of them is most remembered? Which woman suffered more than the others? Who did Henry love above all? It’s a simple, effective conceit for what began as a show at a 100-seat venue at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017. What comes next is an ingenious selection of songs for six divas, honouring these women and paying homage to pop music acts from the last two decades. Much like Hamilton , playing across the road at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Six has a deliberately diverse cast on stage playing the Queens, supported by a five-piece all-fe
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REVIEW: Judith Lucy & Denise Scott – Still Here

  Did you know Melbourne had the longest lockdown in the world? Judith and Denise know because they were fucking there. And so, of course, were the Melbourne audience at the opening night of their two-woman return-to-comedy show, Still Here . The performing arts has gone in-and-out of existence in Melbourne over the past two years and reflections on lockdown and the pandemic have appeared in various forms over that time. Festivals popped up in person and online and while we’re not out of the woods yet, at least we’re out of our houses. Judith Lucy and Denise Scott have a lot to make fun of looking back at 2020 and 2021 – foregrounding the fact that they haven’t been able to work at all and in their advancing years, having more time to reflect doesn’t always lead to great outcomes. Denise is stuck at home with her husband of 41 years, who refuses to listen to her when he’s preparing for a colonoscopy. And Judith’s only adventures are a back-alley haircut and occasionally seeing her

REVIEW: An American in Paris - The Musical

The story of An American in Paris is simple, in the way old movie musical romances are, and complicated because we know the course of true love never runs smoothly. Lise, a French ballet dancer, on the verge of becoming a star, is pursued by three suitors: Adam, a pianist, Jerry, a visual artist and Henri, a cabaret singer, who is hiding the truth about himself from his parents. Set in post-World War II France, against the backdrop of a city recovering from being occupied by the Nazis, the character interactions are a pure joy: all three men meet before discovering, much later, they are all in love with the same woman. Henri is already Lise’s boyfriend, but he’s scared to lose her if he doesn’t propose marriage. Adam thinks writing a ballet for her will be enough to get her attention. Jerry is under no allusion that his art might catch her eye, so he doggedly chases her, even in the wake of her protestations. The problematic old trope of the man continuing to ask a woman out even

REVIEW: Stay Woke by Aran Thangaratnam

Niv has invited his brother Sai up to Mount Buller for a weekend in the snow to reconnect. Their partners, May and Kate, are with them, so they can all get to know each other better. Niv and Sai have become estranged since growing up and moving out of their upper-class suburban household, which they admit wasn’t as pleasant as it might have looked from the outside. Niv has just become vegan, which annoys his younger brother. Kate keeps stepping in it with racially-insensitive remarks, which she keeps apologising for. And May, even though they are off the clock and ready to party, is trying to bring them all together with the tips and tricks they have learned from their day job at a non-profit that teaches rich businessmen not to be pricks. Trapping two couples at a dinner party or a weekend away is the plot of numerous plays and films. Stay Woke isn’t about generational conflict or hippies versus conservatives, though. Aran Thangaratnam’s play is about the millennial minefield o

REVIEW: let bleeding girls lie by Olivia Satchell

  Three. Three women. Three women sit silently, set an equal distance apart, each with a cannula inserted into their hands. Three women sit silently, set an equal distance apart, each with a cannula inserted into their hands, donating plasma at a blood bank in Melbourne. They are there when the audience walks into the theatre. They sit, reading a book or their phone, fidgeting as we find our seats and chatter amongst ourselves before the lights go down. The play has already started, of course. The thing about giving plasma is that the wait is part of the experience. You cannot go anywhere. You’re hooked in. They sit in a room surrounded by televisions, all tuned to the same network. Like donating blood at Harvey Norman. But they’ve come prepared to wait. Lou is writing in her journal. Grace is reading Go Set a Watchmen for her book club. Juice is scrolling endlessly on her phone. Small talk starts. It’s pleasant and awkward in equal measure. You never know if other peopl

No Time to Die: James Bond, Daniel Craig and the End of an Era

This review contains spoilers for No Time to Die   You only live twice Once when you were born And once when you look death in the face -         Ian Fleming   Daniel Craig has been the incumbent James Bond longer than any other actor (though Sean Connery did return after his original run in a non-official Bond film, Never Say Never Again ). Craig has been James Bond for fifteen years, since Casino Royale in 2006. He’s been 007 longer than Ian Fleming wrote James Bond books, which was thirteen years between 1953 and 1966. Connery and Roger Moore may have made two more films than Craig, but neither of their runs were as consistently good as the latest actor in the role. From Russia with Love and Diamonds Are Forever have completely different tones. Live and Let Die and A View to a Kill feel like entirely different genres. With the release of No Time to Die (NTTD), Daniel Craig’s time as James Bond has come to an end. And his final film is full of subtle references to the movies an

REVIEW: Cactus by Madelaine Nunn

It’s 120 days (not counting weekends) until Abbie leaves high school, but she’s got a lot to tackle and endure in those final months. Luckily, she has her best friend, PB, by her side. Abbie’s period surprises her one day at school and she has to improvise, because she doesn’t have any tampons with her. PB hands her a roll of toilet paper under the stall and it feels like the pair of them are always there for each other in similar ways. PB seems to be more outgoing, forward thinking, forward trying, but that might be because Abbie is held back by the torture of endometriosis. High school and puberty are hard enough without feeling like there’s a cactus scraping at your insides. So, on top of the usual school dramas like exams and boys and emotions and sex and clothes and the school formal and self-defence classes, Abbie is facing the likelihood she’ll never have children. Something she has always dreamed and assumed would happen for her. Madeleine Nunn’s script is insightful, and

REVIEW: Poona by Roshelle Fong & Keziah Warner

Poona Li Hung is a cyborg of Chinese and Indian descent. She is a lesbian and in 2050, she is running on a platform of compassion and empathy to become the first robot President of the country of So-Called Australia. It’s four weeks before the election and her campaign team are all in the one room, ready to brainstorm speeches, debate clothing choices and decide how to handle the onslaught of robophobic attacks from the United Human Party. Poona , the play, is the brainchild of co-creators Roshelle Fong (also Producer) and Keziah Warner (also Assistant Director). But the inspiration for the show comes from an unlikely source – Pauline Hanson’s 1997 book called The Truth . The book, where Hanson pontificates on the problems she sees with Aboriginal people, unchecked immigration, and gun control, also predicts the rise of Poona, a figure that must have terrified Hanson – foreign, queer and non-human. The audience are all members of Poona’s campaign team and we’re all asked how involv

REVIEW: The Gospel According to Paul by Jonathan Biggins

Early on in Jonathan Biggins’ one-man ode to Australia’s best-dressed, collector-of-antique-clocks Prime Minister, the character of Paul Keating says that there has never been a great Australian PM. None on the scale of Churchill or Washington or Jefferson. And I wondered if the premise of the show was to submit Keating for consideration. Paul John Keating was the 24 th Prime Minister of Australia, elected to office in 1993, after ousting his predecessor, Bob Hawke, in 1991. He was a career politician from the age of 25, after managing a rock band called The Ramrods in the late 1960s. He was only Prime Minister for one full term and a bit, nothing like Hawke (in The Lodge for nearly 9 years) nor his successor, John Howard, who held the country hostage for nearly 11 . Keating was a member of the Labor Right; socially progressive but fiscally conservative. He’s famous for saying “the recession we had to have” during the economic slowdown of 1990, responding to the High Court’s Nativ

REVIEW: This Genuine Moment by Jacob Parker - Midsumma

Christmas Eve. A bedroom. Two strangers, their limbs entangled; the doona cover and pillows hiding their identities just a little while longer. Riley wakes first to chimes from his mobile phone; an alarm or an early morning text message. He carefully manoeuvres himself away from last night’s hook-up and drags himself out of bed. His family are coming over for dinner and he’s got to clean up his new apartment before they arrive. But first thing is first, he’s got to get rid of “L” – the man he slept with last night, whose name escapes him right now in his early-morning, hangover fog. L doesn’t seem in a hurry to leave, though. He’s checking his messages; friends are texting photos of their Christmas Eve barbeque, trying to talk him into coming over. He’s not sure he wants to. He’s also sending messages to someone in his phone known only as FUTRE HUSBND and ignoring texts from his dad. Riley, in a haze, is trying to put the pieces together from the night before. He got wasted at