THE Les Twentyman Foundation is teaming with award-winning Australian musical theatre director and composer Warren Wills this month to run a new six-month community drama program, Embrace, in Melbourne’s West.

Physically and intellectually disadvantaged young Teens, from Melbourne’s Western Suburbs, are encouraged to join in the socially inclusive this program which culminates with a world premiere performance on October 12 at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College’s theatre.

Embrace, a free musical theatre program for secondary school students, is based on similar projects Mr Wills has led in Shepparton, Victoria, and several outer-London boroughs to a socially inclusive program  to find a cultural common ground.

Over the past 15 years more than 10,000 young people from socially isolated communities and under-privileged backgrounds have played a part in musical theatre projects that Melbourne-born composer Mr Wills has led.

In the rural city of Shepparton, Mr Wills and fellow West End musical theatre producer Yamin Choudury ran a short pilot program of performing arts for 60 young people in 2011 with the backing of Latrobe University.

Youth outreach worker Les Twentyman attended a performance of the work they created, Ghost Gum High, at Shepparton’s Shepp Shed and expressed his interest in bringing an extended version of the program to Melbourne’s west, where Les Twentyman Foundation works with troubled youth.

Embrace Warren Wills, Les Twentyman and crew

Embrace rehearsals begin this month at two venues, Caroline Chisholm Catholic College in Churchill Ave, Braybrook  and community Centers in Footscray, Sunshine and Braybrook

Mr Wills said although he will be writing the score for the production the ideas for the storyline, roles and staging are completely in the hands of the 100 teens he hopes will commit to Embrace.

“I want the kids to be engaged and as creatively involved in the development of the show as possible,” Mr Wills said.

“My mantra is diversity, inclusivity and quality. This work with youths of different backgrounds is genuinely transformational.”

Mr Wills has worked as an award-winning musical director and composer of West End and Broadway shows over the past 30 years with credits on more than 50 productions.

He has worked closely with actors Pamela Anderson and Woody Allen, and has played and composed for the Royal Shakespeare Company in the UK.

Splitting his time between London and Melbourne, this year Mr Wills will also direct the world premiere of his new musical Bowie and Mercury Rising at Chapel off Chapel from July 26 to 30.

As a performer in his own right, he has recorded eight albums and his range as a pianist encompasses cabaret, classical, opera and jazz.

Mr Wills will perform on June 8 with special guests at Dizzy’s Jazz Club during the Melbourne International Jazz Festival.



Bowie Mercury Rising


This new musical celebrates the music and lives of Bowie and Mercury through the eyes of a London actress, searching for hope after the passing of David Bowie. Through her journey we gain an insight into the life and times and period that defined these two much loved icons. Her journey is one of narrative, music and dance.

Bowie Mercury Rising
Bowie Mercury Rising

Warren Wills, winner of the Carling London Best Musical Award, returns to Chapel Off Chapel with this new musical, after two sell-out seasons of Genesis to Broadway. Geraldine Quinn, a multi Green Room award nominee for best actress and singer, and stunning dancer, Jess Mortlake (On the Rocks) also star.

The evening re-imagines such classics as Space Oddity, Life on Mars , The Show Must go On, We are the Champions and many others.

Don’t miss this spellbinding spectacle created and directed by Warren Wills (Royal Shakespeare Company, Woody Allen, Pamela Anderson, Margaret Atwood).


26-30 July
Time: 8pm Wednesday – Saturday, 5pm Saturday, 6pm Sunday
Tickets: $40 Full, $35 Concession, $30 Group 10+, $30 Restricted Viewing (+transaction fee)

Duration: Act 1: 40 minutes (20 minute interval) Act 2: 40 minutes

Seating: Allocated Seating. Please make sure you arrive a minimum of 15 minutes prior to the performance start time. The performance has a strict ‘Lockout Policy’, latecomers will not be permitted.

Please Note: To ensure the safety and integrity of the performance, if you choose to exit the theatre you will only be permitted to re-enter at the discretion of the front of house supervisor. Entry will only be permitted during suitable break in the performance.

Artist Registrations are now OPEN

——– Original Message ——–

Immaculate by Little Ones Theatre. Melbourne Frnge 2016. Photo by Theresa Harrison


Fringe 2017 Registrations are now open. ANYONE can be in Fringe. You. Your Uncle Terry. You and your Uncle Terry. It’s an open playing field so dream big. It’s the ultimate opportunity to take a risk and push the envelope of your art-form. Fringe is proudly open access and a safe space, perfect for experimentation and discovery. 

Register before MON 15 MAY and receive an early bird discount of $50 off the cost of your registration.

Apply today


There are three ways to be involved in Fringe 2017.

Be part of the Fringe Hub  – Apply to be part of the program at one of our Fringe-run venues in our Fringe Hub in North Melbourne. Expressions of Interest for the Fringe Hub close 10.00am on MON 26 APR.

Be part of an established venue – Apply to be part of a program hosted at established venues. Different venues have different flavours – some have an Expression of Interest process and due dates, so check them out and apply directly. 

DIY Show, BYO Venue – You can always go your own way, do your own thing and present wherever you like. Your lounge room, a bookshop, the kebab shop, a tram. (Maybe check with us before you pick ‘tram’). 

Infinitum by Hart. Melbourne Frnge 2016. Photo by Theresa Harrison.


We are excited to be able to offer the following grants to help you take part in Melbourne Fringe Festival 2017:

  1. Ralph Mclean Microgrants are open for artists from diverse backgrounds and identities who are presenting their work at Fringe for the first time; 
  2. The amazing folk at Moreland City Council have a Microgrants program for artists from Moreland or who are presenting their Fringe event in Moreland;
  3. So the folks at Moreland just keep on giving with the Festivals Moreland Development Program, which supports the creation of new live art or participatory work to be showcased as part of Coburg Carnivale.


We are here to help out every step of the way, from artist registration right through to showtime. Book a meeting to talk about your Melbourne Fringe event with our friendly team. You can also pick up the phone (03) 9660 9600, or contact us via the National Relay Service and request Melbourne Fringe phone number – (03) 9660 9600. Read through our excellent and v helpful online artist resources or attend one of our super-handy, super-free Fringe Registration FAQ sessions:

Both sessions are Auslan interpreted and help in accessible venues.

Go on…get your Fringe on. 

Melbourne Fringe is proudly supported by

Free to the Public Information & Support

Evenings for Family & Friends of Drug or Alcohol addicted loved ones


Support & Education Evening for Families and Friends Affected by Drug or Alcohol Addiction

The First Step Program is proud to announce a series of Information and Support evenings tailored towards families and friends of those affected by Drug and Alcohol Addiction.

These evenings will seek to provide a forum for families and friends to build support networks and to acquire insight and coping skills for dealing with those affected by Drugs and Alcohol.  Evenings will include the opportunity for group discussion and problem solving.

Thursday April 20th, 5-7pm:         What is addiction and what are the treatment options? Medical perspectives.  Presented by Dr Peter Wright.   Discussion facilitated by John Chellew, Social Worker

Thursday May 25th, 5-7pm:         Coping strategies.  Implementing boundaries, reducing conflict and improving communication.  Facilitated by John Chellew, Social Worker

Thursday June 22nd, 5-7pm:       Addiction and the Law.  Presented by First Step Legal Service Principle Lawyer, Tania Wolff.  Discussion facilitated by John Chellew, Social Worker       

Where:                                                 First Step Medical Clinic

                                                                42 Carlisle Street,

                                                                St. Kilda VIC 3182

Cost:                                                      FREE OF CHARGE

                                                                *note places strictly limited, if you are unable to attend please provide 48 hours notice so that your place may be allocated to someone else in need.

Bookings:                                            03) 9537 3177 or info@firststep.org.au

Included:                                             Light refreshments

Places are strictly limited and will be assigned on a first-come-first-served basis.  

Run by The First Step Program. 

Supported by the City of Port Phillip Community Grants Program.

(insert First Step logo) (insert City of Port Phillip logo)

Architects of Sound – Funny!

Architects of Sound Cover Photo
Architects of Sound Cover Photo

The Architects of Sound may claim to be the best band in the world, but this Brisbane based electronic trio are certainly the silliest.


The Architects of Sound, Valencia, Amaro and the ever abused Sutro hilariously mirror the wanton self-adulation that fame reflects on to certain performers.

Ever suffering Sutro at the cruel put downs from her obnoxiously narcissistic funny ‘superior’ musical partners busts away into her own Glam moment when the others teeter on breaking up the act over potential solo projects.

They reminded me very much of Flight of the Conchords with the abject silliness interwoven with terribly clever songs, lyrics, and slapstick humour.

You still have a few days to get down at the Butterfly Club with this show featuring songs from their latest visual album ‘The Holy Trinity’

Starring Valencia Low-fi, Amaro Mayfair and Sutro

The Architects of Sound: Arena Spectacular
The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
Until 2 April 2017

Bookings: www.thebutterflyclub.com

Sweet Phoebe by Michael Gow

What happens when all the controls, checks and balances we shape a relationship through counselling and hard work to keep the peace are thrown out of whack by the introduction of a new element in your lives?

Melt down that is what!!!

This hilarious, fast paced relationship farce, played in about 20 short rapid fire vignettes, shows how such fine micro management of one’s marital relationship can lead to disaster and heartbreak.

Linda Cookson as interior designer Helen and Anthony Bradshaw, an advertising executive Frazer, play an organised and self-controlled couple who have found themselves in a place of mutual support and comfort after years of working through their relationship when their friends ring to ask if they would mind looking after their Rottweiler, Phoebe, for 8 days.

Frazer is quite miffed when Helen decides, without discussion or consultation to look after Phoebe whilst their friends head off for some relationship counselling Helen has been advising for some time. The first crack in their self-defense armour.

He is not happy about babysitting the dog, but all that changes after Frazer decides to take the dog for a walk. Almost enraptured by the experience he enthuses Helen to join him on a walk and they both rapidly fall into the joy of having a dog in their lives and a sense of other purpose, their insular lives opened to new friends they meet in the dog park and the absolute joy they both seemed to gain from this distraction in their otherwise predictably organized lives.

The pace quickens up after Phoebe does a bolt on Frazer as he distractedly leaves the front door open to go back for his wallet. When Helen arrives home Frazer’s panic peaks and they spend the next 4-5 days endlessly wandering the streets and parks, distraught and panicked to point of breakdown of all their finely tuned self-discipline apparatus leaving their careers and their relationship in shambles.

Director Meredith Fuller has created a highly entertaining, very dark comedy that will speak to many of us on so many levels about the traps of life.

Both Linda and Anthony are superbly on song with their performances, the hysterics caused by their breakdowns and her explosive monologues were superb and we also get taste of Anthony’s baritone brilliance when he sings his darling a love song.

Relief for their angst was finally found with the arrival of the ‘old man’ played by Brian Walsh as he appeared with Rottweiler Atticus, who played the role of Phoebe superbly, such control, such presence…for a dog…haha

Get along, it is a hoot!

The Epicentre Upstairs Theatre – “epicentre is the calm point inside disturbance” – is a new and exciting little theatre in Caulfield.

Helen – Linda Cookson
Frazer – Anthony Bradshaw
Old Man – Brian Walsh
Phoebe – Atticus
Director – Meredith Fuller
Stage Manager – Kate Watson

Assistant to Director – Amanda Reeves

Theatre Hand – Julian Zilinskas

Sweet Phoebe




Toorak welcomes a cheeky new resident with the launch of Grange Road Egg Shop, a bright eatery with a bold attitude courtesy of the team who brought us popular Southside cafes Denis the Menace and St Edmonds.

Along with business partner Damon Glover, the Wilkinson Group has opened the doors to the 97-seater venue at 1 Grange Road, serving contemporary Australian cuisine for breakfast and lunch.

Perfectly timed for the warmer months, Grange Road Egg Shop’s design evokes a breezy, holiday feel, drawing inspiration from the sophisticated infrastructures of old school Miami and the vibrancy of Bali’s Shady Shack, thrown in with a hint of Californian glamour.

Enlisting the talents of DB Architecture, the design aesthetic pairs vibrant pastel furnishings from Fritz Hansen, with a custom installation by street artist, Deams, and a pleasing colour palette of yoke yellow, shell pink and duck egg blue.

Housed in a Tudor style, heritage listed building; the design team at DB Architecture couldn’t help but re-appropriate some of the imperfect surfaces of the simple egg. Lavish lighting fixtures, signature curves and textured crackles are seen throughout, with greenery provided by living plants to soften the design fabrication.

Connecting the historical building’s exterior, a striking Tudor timber façade sits inside the contemporary café. The platonic patterning to the bar face and glimmering artwork by Deams reference this Old English envelope.

Visitors to Grange Road Egg Shop will enjoy a menu designed by Yotam Ottolenghi alumni, Aleksander Nitecki, with highlights set to include risotto, garden peas, asparagus, goats curd, soft herbs and crumbed veal, cherry tomatoes, grapefruit, radish, frisee, fennel, endives and mint, served alongside a range of shakes, fresh juices and sodas, including peach and maple or a rhubarb spritz.

Creative consultant, Adam Wilkinson, says the goal is to serve “food that makes people happy”, with the menu embodying a come one, come all philosophy, welcoming everyone from the health-conscious to the wildly indulgent.

Grange Road Egg Shop is open from 7am-4pm Monday to Friday, 8am-4pm on weekends.


Huso and Esme’s story is a disturbing one, two young kids brought up in poor homes, friends by default and living vicariously by viewing the lives of families around them, peeking through windows of their houses.

Played in the round with 8 chapters that the characters take us through, these teenagers whose routine is living in poverty, Esme, dirty and discarded, her story of abuse unfolds.

It is a tough play, so real in all its pain but left us with a glimmer of hope. The story is based on real events, Fin Fletcher as Esme is a glorious survivor whilst Huso, Zachary Kazepis has also a very strong performance as her caring play mate.

As the play finished the audience sat there stunned, but as the lights rose on the two actors after the last chapter the audience broke into a feverish applause.

Written by Ayse Bayramoglu

Directed by Lloyd Jones

Translated by Bilge Gulturk Loro

Performed by Anna Priestly and Zac Kazepis

Image by Zac Kazepis

Feverishly Daunting Performance

The Fever

James Wardlaw’s performance in The Fever at La Mama is a driven monologue that left me feeling terribly feverish myself.

Sitting in the front row of La Mama Carlton facing a stark white stage I felt the full force of this relentless almost 2-hour denunciation admonishing the values of middle class society and the random unsettling eyeball to eyeball connection the actor made with me and other audience members, uncomfortably dragging us directly into the dilemma many of us own.

Almost 2 hours of non-stop demanding, relentless, evocative tearing down of the ideals of our elite Western, market riven ‘democracy’, of our righteous self-belief in the right to rule, abuse, disenfranchise the lesser within personal reach.

Director Tom Healy 25 odds years after Wallace Shawn wrote and performed The Fever draws the plays relevance to our current society that is brimming with more parasites than we can count and reflects on us the bitter deception and pain we cause through self-indulgence and greed.

Written by Wallace Shawn
Performed by James Wardlaw
Directed by Tom Healey
Set design by Dagmara Gieysztor
Lighting design by Bronwyn Pringle
Stage Manager: Jess Keepence
Image by Dagmara Gieysztor

February 22 – March 5
Wed 6.30 | Thur – Sat 7.30pm | Sun 4pm 
Approximately 90 minutes

La Mama Theatre
205 Faraday Street, Carlton

$25 Full | $15 Concession
Available via www.lamama.com.au or 9347 6142

The Way Things Work Wonderfully Spotlighted

The Way Things Work

What a brilliant start to Red Stitch’s 2017 season, The Way Things Work is an exceptional 2 handed maelstrom of men behaving poorly brought on 3 thunderous curtain calls!

The Way Things Work thrilled me to bits, having been in newspaper game for so long so many of the references and the life realities presented rang so true me. I found myself belly laughing along with everyone else but also found myself loudly chortling at some of the darker mentions that seemed to quiet the majority of the audience, lucky me eh?

Set in a stark white stage these three vignettes on truly the way things work, the era of plausible deniability and alternative facts, the lies, deceit, depravity and desperation that roams the halls of power and our somewhat sickly society so adeptly nail the sad and sickeningly ‘cookie cutter’ personalities/behaviour that is most common nowadays.

Democracy dies behind closed doors…

Corruption stalks every level of our society and too often better judgement is blackmailed by the ‘do the right thing mate’ sense of irresponsibility the iconic idea of ‘mate-ship’ brings with it when used as a weapon or lever.

I could feel, hear and almost smell the palpable fear streaming from every pore of Joe Petruzzi as bent Minister Patrick Barlow collars his ‘mate’ department head Dench, Peter Houghton in a ‘Yes Ministerial’ squirrel grip over a looming Royal Commission enquiry.  

Barlow knew he was doomed and the desperation of his entreaties to Dench culminate in a scene that sits the audience bolt upright with its timing and dramatic potential consequence.

Parts 2 and 3 explore some other intriguing ideas about the values of secret men’s business held by some males in this country, the story lines are pumped along by Russell Goldsmith’s tarnished triumphal toned sound track and the brilliant use of the stage and costumes to perfectly set the scenes, also designed by Aidan Fennessy.

The pace does not let up, I was engaged and committed throughout, best you experience this yourself.

Aidan Fennessy masterfully and thoughtfully directs Petruzzi and Houghton in a deep and delightful dissection of Aussie male behaviours, the shallowness of the pretend mateship that is expected as a given.

This Victorian Premiere show runs until March 5th – simply a must see 5-star masterful piece of contemporary theatre.

By Aidan Fennessy

Directed by Aidan Fennessy

Featuring Joe Petruzzi and Peter Houghton

Set and Costumes: Aidan Fennessy

Lighting: Matt Scott

Sound: Russell Goldsmith

Production and Stage Manager: Shae Attril