Past Production, Review, Uncategorized

REVIEW: The Summer of Our Lives | Taking you straight back to family car trips, fish and chips for tea, and holidays to remember…oh and aliens!

Review | Laura Money

Aaah, summer holidays – there’s nothing like them. Packing up the car, getting a reading pile going, finding an alien lifeform and getting caught up in government espionage – you know, the usual! The Summer of Our Lives is the perfect crossover of ET and The Castle with a blistering soundtrack akin to Heathers the Musical. Writer Tyler Jacob Jones flexes his talent with this sharply written script and cohesive, catchy book. Each song blends classic musical theatre tropes with a lean in to the camp of both B movies and 90s sci fi nostalgia – it’s like Little Shop of Horrors downunder, and we’re absolutely here for it.

Jones stamps this show with a huge ‘Made in Perth’ marker and honestly, it’s just awesome. The references to travelling down south to ‘Dunsbridge’ and always getting fish and chips when you don’t catch enough takes this reviewer straight back to her childhood and all the warm fuzzies associated with it. Through Sally Phipps‘ set and costume design The Summer of Our Lives is essentially a giant chatterbox of a nostalgia hit. The costuming is particularly excellent – Erin Jay Hutchinson embodies the quintessential 90s Mum on holiday with her peach and pastel pallette, Mum shorts and 90s trendy Monica from Playschool short do, Elliot Peacock leans in more to the 1960s comic book geek but that tracks for his storyline, Emily Semple is ridiculously adorable in her pastel pink overalls (I think every girl growing up in the 90s had a pair of those!) and Nick Maclaine is just perfection – he looks like every awkward picture of your Dad from 1992 when he was still young enough to get away with shorts but probably shouldn’t have – and those glasses are bang on point. From the louvered cupboard doors to the retro table and chairs, the set is so familiar you’d be hardpressed not to dump your schoolbag on stage and call out to Mum to find out if dinner tonight is going to be lamb cutlets or apricot chicken!

Much like Little Shop of Horrors, this show celebrates alien movie tropes except this time it’s the 90s – it features a young family healing together after the death of the father, a hidden alien found by a small child and then kept secret, spies and conspiracy theorists, and a lot more gore than is necessary. Each element is writ large, conflating the original and placing it at the forefront of the stage. Director, Katt Osbourne has the actors utilising every bit of the stage and cleverly reimagines set pieces to create a picture in our minds. The dining table becomes the car, and combined with excellent lighting design by Peter Young and brilliant comic timing a mythical car chase scene steals the show – until the scene-stealing finale of course. Osbourne’s direction of the alien is particularly inspired – he is operated by puppeteer Tristan McInnes – allowing him to fly about the stage and manipulate objects. Everyone just suspends disbelief as McInnes moves objects through the air and it’s just so much fun, especially when the characters act as if it were an invisible force.

Each actor is phenomenal – no exceptions! Between Semple’s aggressive tirade against ants and teachers and Ned her heartwarming connection to her new alien friend and reconcilliation with her Mum is realistic and tender. She pulls off playing a kid by playing it straight and not faltering – it’s a great performance. Peacock as Arthur is the everyman you sympathise with – he sings with heart and maintains his quirky character throughout. His undeniable chemistry with the hilarious Tory Kendrick as the American Glance sparks as they compliment each other well. Kendrick slinks onto the stage with grace and humour – a Taylor Swift lookalike with a brilliant voice. Of course, no family would be complete without a loveable Mum – this is really the best role Erin Jay Hutchinson has played. She takes the grieving Mum, Bev and navigates her through the death of her husband, the misunderstanding of her kids, the spark of new love, and the understanding that she doesn’t need it all while rocking Mum jeans and super cool hair. Hutchinson is brilliant! Her Mum-isms are hilarious and her voice is great, she even gets a few sad moments and touching songs as well as some of the funniest lines in the show. Speaking of funny lines – all hail Nick Maclaine! Wow, is this the funniest role in the show or what? Ned is the dorkiest, church going, wannabe stepdad going and Maclaine’s portrayal of him is *chef’s kiss!* Not only does he lean in entirely to the dork side, Maclaine’s face turns rubber as he finds himself losing control of the ‘loveable’ persona to reveal the true Ned. Although (spoiler alert) he probably doesn’t deserve his fate in the end. (Although that’s what makes this show so great – it doesn’t shy away from letting everything go to hell in a handbasket.)

The Summer of Our Lives is pretty much the perfect musical. It has catchy songs, from the title piece to ‘kill all the ants’ and the fun, irreverant duo ‘let’s do something stupid’ and the sheer musicality of five way songs that express individual motivations while being a cohesive whole is brilliant. The show unravels into perfect chaos, further proving that nostalgia isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – there is absolutely no going back. Let’s hope this show gets picked up nationally because it really is the perfect homage to all things 90s with killer tunes, hilarious dialogue, and poignant heartfelt moments – it’s the stage show of our lives.


FRINGEWORLD 2020 | Drag Diva Spectacular | 4.5 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Prepare yourselves for a night of glitter, glamour and gorgeous queens as the fabulous ladies of Drag Diva Spectacular prove just how spectacular they are! Devised and run by Perth Drag royalty, Barbie-Q there is more than enough girl power in this fun-filled hour of diva power.

Barbie-Q and her crew are long-standing residents of the fabulous Connections Nightclub – the longest running gay bar in the Southern Hemisphere! – and Divas is their Fringeworld 2020 show, and it does not disappoint. Kicking things off with the hottest moves this Fringeworld these ladies are here to slay. Amid a haze of glitzy, shiny, fabulous costumes the ladies sashay and strut with confidence and flair.

The stunning Veronica Jean Jones shows off her skills in a heartfelt routine, clearly buoyed by the sheer love in the room. She moves like no other – owning the stage every second she’s on it. Fay Rocious is hilarious! Every song lyric is acted out with the funniest facial expressions – she brings a touch of kitsch that lends itself perfectly to the show. Then there’s Ruby Jewelz – she really shines bright like the diamond – er Ruby – she is. Dayum girl, those moves are sassier than Shakira! Ruby pops and locks her hips and booty shakes to J-Lo in a truly mesmerising routine.

Drag Diva Spectacular is just that – their country dance is bootscootingly bootylicious and just wild enough to make Miley Cyrus proud. They take you back to your childhood in a girl group tribute that screams the house down. From Queen B to the Spice Girls these queens channel every bit of fabulous energy culminating in a group number that would make teenage girls dancing in front of the mirror jealous!

I can’t stress enough how amazing these guys are – from fabulous, well devised routines, to fiery sass that ripples through the crowd – these ladies bring it all night long! Barbie-Q is bitingly witty and darling in her lack of pop culture knowledge – and while she may not know who Lizzo is she has the best pins in the business! Go and get camp af with the sexiest showgirls in Perth – you will leave covered in glitter and ready to continue the party all night long!

WHEN: 24th January – 1st February 2020 | 7:30pm & 9:00pm

WHERE: Connections Nightclub | Northbridge

INFO: Pricing $30 | Duration 60m | Suitability M | Occasional coarse language, Sexual References, Smoke Effects, Strobe Lighting | CABARET



FRINGEWORLD 2020 | Krishna Istha: Beast | 4.5 Stars

Review | Laura Money

Krishna Istha is a hilarious trans (gender not transport in case you were confused) performance artist trying their hand at stand-up comedy. Istha is brilliant! Beast is like no comedy show I’ve ever seen. It starts off with a performance art element – just to get the grant! – and quickly subverts stand-up while playing with the genre. Istha is quick-witted, sarcastic and constantly pulling the rug out from under you. Their comedy style is all about pointing out the absurd – from language to assumptions – and each time you think you get the punchline, Istha is waiting there with another punchline to disarm you.

It’s hard not to smile whenever Istha is talking – not only are they genuinely entertaining, but also just very warm and cheeky. Istha is highly intelligent – the show breaks down binaries of every form – from schooling babysitting victims kids, to being a consultant on toilets when all they want to do is find somewhere safe to pee! Istha deals in the absurd – this is a stand-up routine written by a Cultural Studies major and I’m here for that! Once you start breaking anything down, it becomes ridiculous and Istha is the master of the reveal – even revealing some questionable things in their bumbag!

Krishna Istha: Beast is a truly subversive and intelligent hour of comedy. There are moments of pure irreverence involving fresh produce, laugh out loud slide-show presentations, and of course dick jokes. Istha is a highly intelligent and quick comedian – their delivery is on-point and jokes cleverly rendered. If the performance art thing doesn’t work out – stand-up is a great fallback.


WHEN: 17th – 25th January | 8:30pm & 9:30pm


INFO: Pricing $32 | Duration 60m | Suitability 18+ | Occasional coarse language, nudity, Drug use, Loud Noises, Sexual References, Strobe Lighting | COMEDY


Coming Soon, In Brief, Uncategorized

FRINGEWORLD 2019: GRACE | 5 With Fringe

Ana Ika plays the titular GRACE which will play during FRINGEWORLD 2019. It’s on as part of The Blue Room Theatre’s Summer Nights program. Ika answered our 5 With Fringe questions ahead of the show.

Describe your show in 3 words:

Silly. Honest. Fun.


What is your show all about?

It’s about a girl who speaks to octopuses. It explores family, mental health and it explores what’s real.


Favourite FRINGEWORLD 2019 hangout?

I always seem to end up at The Moon. I love their chips and their service.


What is the best part about FRINGEWORLD 2019?

As a performer, I love that everyone gets involved and supports each other. It feels like this low-stakes chance to perform and this fun celebration of the arts. Overall, I just love that Perth lights up during Fringe, because it’s for everyone. It’s accessible and I think there’s a show for everyone.


Apart from your show, what other shows would you recommend?

The other show I’m doing: Let Me Finish. Nah I’m really looking forward to Izzy McDonald’s Manwatching and Charlotte Otton’s Feminah. I think both will offer something interesting with regards to form and content. I’m also keen to see the Big HOO-HAA! Do their thing. I love improv.
You can catch GRACE at the Blue Room Theatre during FRINGEWORLD 2019.

TRAVELLING: Tom Vickers and the Extraordinary Adventure of his Missing Sock

It’s the collaboration that is five years in the making – Spare Parts Puppet Theatre and the Western Australian Museum have formed a new project partnership to present the world premiere of the “adventure performance”, Tom Vickers and the Extraordinary Adventure of his Missing Sock at the WA Shipwrecks Museum in Fremantle, the Museum of Geraldton, and the Museum of the Great Southern in Albany in 2018.
Sock pile_Vickers

This beautiful ‘choose your own adventure’ work takes you on a journey that fuses puppetry and museum displays – the museum tells stories using objects, and Tom Vickers… happily continues that tradition with 19 installations for children and adults alike to interact with.

Hear the story of the real life Tom Vickers as you navigate your way through his life and history – highlighting the stories and sacrifices made during World War One, the ANZAC Spirit, and how these events had a lasting impact on this corner of the world.


This isn’t the first collaboration with the Western Australian Museum, but it is the first time something of this scale has been undertaken by either party. So head on down to the Shipwreck Museum and discover a ‘yarn’ worth unraveling with Tom Vickers and the Extraordinary Adventure of his Missing Sock!


WHEN: 14 – 29 April 2018 | Various times from 10am

WHERE: WA Shipwrecks Museum| Fremantle | 1 Cliff Street, Fremantle

INFO: Tickets $25 | Duration – 50 – 90 mins (at your own pace) | Recommended ages 5+ | IMMERSIVE THEATRE