Arts & Culture

Closing Night Gala - Perth International Cabaret Festival


After taking in a couple of shows at the Inaugural Perth International Cabaret Festival (Carlotta's The Party's Over and Dean Misdale's Life's a Drag, both terrific), my partner and I were looking forward to sampling a smattering of the performers on offer at the Closing Night Gala.

Hastily thrown together by Artistic Director Michael Griffiths when Covid-19 struck yet again and prevented Meow Meow and Lior from coming over to Perth, the Closing Night Gala featured an extraordinary lineup of local and interstate talent, and proved to be a fitting finale to a successful first foray for the festival.

Michael Griffiths and band kicked off proceedings and got things jumping, and he was quickly joined onstage by co-host Amelia Ryan, who was later to wow (and terrify) the crowd by coming down and selecting a male audience member to assist on-stage.

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Carlotta The Party's Over - Perth Cabaret Festival


A bit saucy, a bit spicy, a bit naughty...Carlotta is a unique on stage presence who knows how to wow the crowds.

Not a surprise – since she has been entertaining the masses with her glittery presence, glamour and sharp wit over a career spanning more than 60 years.

She started as a teenage member of Les Girls in Sydney’s Kings Cross, after spending her early years growing up in the suburb of Balmain, alongside Olympic swimmer Dawn Fraser.

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Perfumes at Luna


My partner and I were looking forward to our evening out at Windsor Luna in order to watch the French drama Perfumes.

Perfumes follows the story of Anne Walberg (Emmanuelle Devos) – a talented genius who specialises in using her nose to concoct amazing scents and who once had a famous career developing award winning perfumes till her sense of smell temporarily deserted her.

Now freelancing, her marketing agent sends Anne off on different assignments to continue to use the talents of her nose – though in somewhat more diverse projects which send her off the beaten track.

On one of her work projects, her path collides with Guillame Favre (Greg Montel), who is assigned to be her regular chauffeur – after she sacked her last 3 drivers.

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I and You by Theatre 180


Upon heading to Perth's newest performing arts venue – Burt Hall on St Georges Terrace – I was struck by how intimate the setting is. Nestled in one of the rooms underneath the main hall, it is a perfect setting for giving the audience that real “fly on the wall” experience, since even the back row is only a few metres from the elevated stage.

This feeling of really being there works wonderfully well in Theatre 180's production of I and You, Lauren Gunderson's two-hand story of teenage angst, pain, hope and love. Set in 17 year old Caroline's bedroom, you really do feel that you are perched in a corner, watching the story unfold.

Caroline is currently sick at home, waiting and hoping for a desperately needed liver transplant. She is ill, tired and understandably bitter about her situation, isolated in her bedroom with only a mobile phone as a lifeline to the outside world. 


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The Children by Theatre 180


We sat within the cosy interior of the Burt Hall on the Terrace awaiting a double act by Theatre 180 - the first act up being "The Children".

My partner and I were pleased to have an evening together at the theatre – it was a bit of a treat to be out for the night after the recent covid restrictions in Perth.

The story unfolds as we meet couple Hazel (Jenny Davis) and Robin (Andrew Lewis) – who have retired and settled into life in their British seaside cottage after surviving a serious nuclear power plant meltdown.

They receive an unexpected visit from old friend and ex-colleague Rose (Vivienne Garrett), and that is when sparks fly for a myriad of reasons as her arrival disrupts their peaceful retirement.

Regrets, sacrifices, a life well lived with or without children, the pursuit of careers, love and passionate affairs – satisfying lives, moral and ethical dilemmas. The characters explore many themes in the kitchen of their simple cottage, reflecting on their behaviours (past, present and the future) and weighing up their personal gains against the greater good of humanity.

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Playthings - Black Swan State Theatre Co & Blue Room Theatre



That was my immediate reaction after Playthings. For various, mostly COVID-related reasons, I hadn’t gone to the theatre in over a year so it was good to get back into it with a production that exemplifies just how brilliant it can be.

Amidst Perth’s lockdown, there had been doubt about whether this show would go ahead. And with everyone in attendance required to wear masks, the threat of COVID lingered in the air. One of the first things we noticed when we took our seats was the eerie shadow of the trees arching over the two houses, setting the scene for what was about to unfold.

At the start of Playthings, 13-year-old classmates Lucy (played by Courtney Henri) and Arnold (Daniel Buckle) sneak away from home to meet in the bush. “Have you ever seen a dead body?” Lucy casually asks, before showing Arnold a dying kangaroo.

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The Cherry Orchard by Black Swan State Theatre Company


The grounds and buildings of Dalkeith's Sunset Hospital provide the perfect faded grandeur for Black Swan State Theatre Company's adaption of Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard. Set amongst dilapidated old buildings that appear abandoned, as well as outdoors on land with million dollar views, it is ironic that the destruction of Ranyevskaya's cherry orchard for summer cottages would no doubt be repeated on these heritage grounds if local developers were given half a chance!

While Chekhov himself described his play as a comedy, there are no doubt plenty of tragic elements within it.

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