The Perfume Garden at Chapel Off Chapel

Rajendra Moodley’s story The Perfume Garden about the life of a typical Melbourne Indian family is warm and funny. In two parts with a 20 minute break this story entertains for the whole performance.

Moodley plays Anand whose use by date as a marriage candidate is quickly running out and his parents have sneakily introduced a potential suitor, Devi played by Sacha Joseph a cute but emotionally distant young woman seeking a new life in Australia.

Anand’s ambitious parents Satya and  Chitra (Vishwajeet Pradhan, Laura Lattuada) struggle to keep their spice shop viable whislt Chitra dreams of a tea lover’s cafe replace the spice business.  The father is peeved that he and his wife have to care for a distant relative, a stroke victim Ayah, and pressure Anand to spend his time helping with her care.

As implied by the name of the play, Anand also creates perfumes he believes are both fragrant and magical. After smelling this aroma the normally still Ayah springs to life as an incarnation of an Indian diva spirit and the humour oozes across the stage, and I mean ooze, I suppose Bollywood is larger than life and all the performers.

The Bollywood dance performances spring out through regularity during the play, I love the festive colour of it all!  Khema da Silva was the standout as Ayah and there were some extremely salient moments, but overall the performance was a tad disjointed, I am sure it got tighter during their season. Not quite there but still kept me interested and entertained during the two hours.

Australian Bollywood Productions, in association with What’s On Production Company, Ignite Bollywood and the Victorian State Ballet presents THE PERFUME GARDEN by Rajendra Moodley

Directed by Paul Watson

Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran

Season: 3 – 13 August 2017

Loktak Lairembee

Loktak is a lake that supports a fishing community that builds houses on floating biomass and fish from long canoes. A fully self-sustainable community that the Indian Government decided was polluting the lake their houses were destroyed. The Floating demolition rig is a monstrous looking machine boat loaded with armed military and the locals are scared and angry.

The story is told to us with an intimate look into lives of a terrified Tomba and his overworked wife Thombalsang after their home had been torched and living in a new hut on the lake. Tomba is so fearful he is frozen and his poor wife is so overworked and frustrated with his inability to function she warns of leaving him.

His mindset becomes more aggressive after he finds a hand gun in the bio mass, but his paranoia and fearful response to a late night visitor leads to tragedy. The film has no soundtrack and comes across as a reality protest documentary with a script.

LOKTAK LAIREMBEE may be slow going but is also mindful story and I am glad I am now aware of the indecency that is enforced on these people. 

Director: Haobam Paban Kumar Cast: Ningthoujam Sanatomba India, 2017
Manipuri with English subtitles

Run time: 91 minutes

LOKTAK LAIREMBEE is showing on Sunday the 20th of August at Hoyts. Forrest Hill for more info or to book your tickets click  here 

Djuki Mala are Fabulous

What a marvellous show at Map 57, Djuki Mala is one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had at any show this year.

The dancers from NE Arnhem land, Yolngu people, are also known as the ‘Chooky Dancers’ the comedic energy they bring to their dance when crossing cultural styles, their Zorba the Greek brings the house down.

It is an inspired meshing of traditional dance and modern concoctions, lending their talents to the various forms of dance dating back to the ‘70’s.

The show is backdropped with a huge screen that connects us to the story behind Djuki Mala, elder women explaining how dance was used as a diversion from drugs and alcohol and general misbehaviour on Elcho Island off Arnhem Land. Not only was the idea effective but now Djuki Mala tour the world showing their talents and exposing the world to the culture of their people and their communication with the broader community.

The entrancement of the traditional songs to highly ridiculous piss take humour this mob provide is so well supported by the audio visual, sound, lighting and effects in a seamless roller coaster ride of entertainment that leaves you feeling real good for such a long time, I am still cracking up at some of the poses for instance…

It is a wonderful story about how a simple and powerful idea can change peoples lives and end up a world wide sensation.

Djuki Mala play at Map 57 on the St Kilda Triangle site until Friday July 28, so if you want a great time and a huge belly laugh, get along to this show!

Next Fall

Darrin Redgate + Mark Davis
Darrin Redgate + Mark Davis

Opposites attract they say and Peter Blackburn’s direction of Geoffrey Naufft’s hilarious and poignant tragi-comedic exploration of an oddly matched gay couple throws light on the current discussion about the issues of marriage equality, acceptance and openness in a well-paced, humorous and  challenging performance.

Set in New York this complex story crossing between the present and flashbacks to 5 years of a loving relationship between Adam played by Darrin Redgate, a 40 year old atheist and Mark Davis plays Luke, a much younger devout Christian.

Their relationship has been hidden from Luke’s devout Southerner parents, Butch his father played by Paul Robertson as the brusque, grieving father and his eccentric mother, Kaarin Fairfax as Arlene. Such a fine performance from both actors!

One of the flashback scenes is the de-gaying of their apartment in preparation for Luke’s fathers soon arrival and Adam’s will to confront the issue of their relationship with the father. This causes some stress as Luke wants Adam to be invisible for a couple of hours but as luck would have it dad arrives as Adam swings into the lounge room carrying the picture of a large naked black man’s buttocks…it is amazing what some people choose not to see or process sometimes!

Luke lies in a hospital bed after an assault leads to brain damage. The play starts in the stark waiting room of the hospital with the couple’s bestie Holly (Sharon Davis) and Brandon (John Biasetto), Luke’s ex love interest setting the scene for the many dramatic waiting room scenes in the two act play.

The set design is an inspired use of the space, the use of the huge green draw curtains to signify the hospital and opening up to cleverly used stage props that take us through the couples 5 year relationship leading up to this tragedy.

Loved this play, a very strong statement about where society still struggles to accept equality today.

Cast:  James Biasetto, Mark Davis, Sharon Davis, Kaarin Fairfax, Paul Robertson, Darrin Redgate
Director: Peter Blackburn
Set and Costume Design: James Lew
Lighting Design: Megz Evans
Sound Design: Linton Wilkinson
Original Music/Score: Claire Healy
Stage Manager: Jacinta Anderson

12-30 July 
Time: 8pm Wednesday-Saturday, 5pm Sunday
Tickets: $39.50 Full, $29.50 Concession, 33.50 Group 8+ (+transaction fee)

Duration: Act 1: 50 minutes (20 minute interval) Act 2: 55 minutes



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

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


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