musical theatre

A Little Night Music


It’s a long time on a bus from Frankston to Nunawading, 1 hour 40 minutes if any of you are wondering. I don’t have a car and this is how l get about and l am getting about to the Whitehorse Centre to see A Little Night Music. I will admit now that l had never seen a Stephen Sondheim musical or an Ingmar Bergman film so l did some reading up before Saturday so l knew the story.

It’s my first visit to the Whitehorse Centre and this is the first of four shows that l’ll be seeing here this year. This production has professional performers and is a little more expensive, but, l had money left over from the Friday show and l really wanted to see a Stephen Sondheim musical.

It’s midsummer in Sweden and one magical night that smiles three times. Nadine Garner played the fading actress Desiree with real understanding and her rendition of Send in the Clowns was sung with such pathos. John O’May as Fredrik and Eddie Mullaumaseali’l as Count Carl-Magnus Malcome were in fine voice. Their acting was not quite up to the same standard as Nadine Garner, but l could not fault their singing. Johanna Allen as Charlotte and Jackie Rees as Madame Armfeldt both played their roles well along with great cameo performances by Anna-Francesca Armenia as Petra and Raphael Wong as Mr Linquist.

Carina Waye played Anne as an airhead and l’m not sure if that is exactly what the character is meant to be. Again, l couldn’t fault her singing. The real disappointment was Nelson Gardner as the lovesick Henrik. I think he overplayed the role, at times veering into hysteria which meant he strangled the high notes when singing. His was the only real disappointing performance.

I sat writing my notes at interval and towards the end l saw the orchestra members come out from behind the curtain for the second half. They came out in single file, all dressed in black, and one by one trooped down into the orchestra pit. It made me think of ants going about their business; ants are such busy and industrious creatures as were these talented musicians who did great justice to the sublime musical score of Stephen Sondheim.

Soon it was over and l was back at the bus stop waiting for the bus to go home. I got talking to a lady who told me that the council is going to tear down the current Whitehorse Centre and build a bigger newer theatre.  I got on the bus and made the long trek home where much later that night l found myself still humming one of the melodies.

Did l like my first Stephen Sondheim musical, yes l did.

musical theatre

Pirates of Penzance


I am the youngest in the audience by at least 30 years. This is Daytime Music & Theatre and most of those attending are seniors, but, that’s okay, the arts can be enjoyed at any age. Besides which, l have to be at work by 1pm so it’s the 10.30am session l’m seeing.

These are professional performers and the show will tour other theatres. That doesn’t mean though, that the tickets are expensive. I paid $17.00 for my ticket and what did l get for my $17.00.

There was a paired back stage with the skull and crossbones situated proudly centre stage. There was a piano, some seats and what was meant to look like a rock and that was it. The cast of 6 performed all the roles with only the piano as accompaniment, apart from a very brief section with acoustic guitar. What brilliant voices; Philip Gould as the Pirate King was so good as was Brian Hannan as the Major General. These two have years of experience and it showed. All the performers were good as was the pianist.

So l heard the songs from the Pirates of Penzance, one from Les Miserables, one from The Mikado and a little bit of Abba, along with songs about Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un and dual citizen politicians(my Australian readers will know all about them). You may be wondering what all that has to do with the Pirates of Penzance and, well, it was a bit of a mish mash played to the audience with great fun and was enjoyed by all. It finished in time for me to have lunch and then get to work on time with a smile on my face.

Don’t just dismiss Daytime shows. Yes, the crowd may be older but there are some good shows to see and they usually are cheaper tickets to buy. They have two performances, 10.30am and 1.30pm and you can even have lunch at the theatre. I don’t go to the latest hot thing or worry about what others think. I pick shows that l will like and pick performance times that suit me.

And, the savings l made on this ticket were spent on the show l saw on Saturday, more about that one on Wednesday.


** What’s On is now moving to Friday and l will be posting 3 posts per week now.

musical theatre

Thinking outside the box

The hit musical Beautiful is currently playing in Melbourne. It’s getting great reviews and looks fantastic. So does the ticket price; ranging from $70( with a restricted view) up to an eye watering $195. Good luck to those who are going, but, what about those of us who can’t afford to pay that much.

Well, that’s when you need to think outside the box.

On April 22 at 3pm there is a show called Tapestry Show playing at Frankston Arts Centre. A three piece band will play the music of Carole King, and others, all for the reasonable price of $25.00. Is it the story of Carole King, no, but you will hear her music.

Sometimes we have to compromise. I would like to see Beautiful, but, there’s no way l can afford those tickets. I like Carole King and, like many others have a copy of Tapestry. So l look for the next best thing. I’m not going to the Tapestry Show as l’ve already booked something else on that day but in a few weeks l’m going to a show like it, no full production, just the music and songs and l got that ticket for $19. It’s all about best value for money.

The big fancy stage shows will always get the publicity, but, for those of us on a budget they’re out of reach. Don’t worry about what you can’t see, think about what’s out there and the arts are thriving in the suburbs. All you have to do is look, or, leave it to me. I know quite a few little tricks to find affordable shows.

That’s why the website is called Loving the arts on a budget:)

musical theatre



We’re in the car winding our way to Pakenham. It’s that strange juxtapostion of urban meeting rural and then being urban again that occurs in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. We’re heading to The Cardinia Cultural Centre to see the Cardinia Performing Arts Company(CPAC) perform Annie.

Here she is, Maya Corbett for this performance.

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There were a few missed notes, but, overall in was a great performance for someone so young. You know that old stage adage, don’t work with children or animals, well, this was a child with a misbehaving dog. I take my hat off to young Maya for being able to keep singing while the dog tried to climb all over her, proving another old stage adage, the show must go on.

The standout for me was Greg Whitehead in the role of Oliver Warbucks, what a voice. Libbie Rogers played the mawkish drunk Miss Hannigan to perfection, along with Joel Norman-Hade as her greasy deadbeat brother. Overall the standard of singing was high, the costuming and staging good. It was a little disconcerting hearing, but not seeing, the orchestra. If l looked up and over my left shoulder l could see the musical director Samuel Looms on a tv screen; not all suburban theatres have room for an orchestra pit in front of the stage. Wherever the musicians were they played well and l love hearing live music. One of the ensemble was slightly out of time with the others, but, this is amateur theatre and there will sometimes be an uneven standard of performance. There can also be happy surprises.


This is Tristan Cullinan-Smayle. I first saw Tristan perform a few years ago, and, to be honest, didn’t think his voice was that good. This is the second time l’ve seen him perform in six months and l have to congratulate him; his voice is so much stronger and has more quality to it. I’m assuming he’s had lessons and this is one of the things l love so much about amateur theatre. Tristan works full time, like many of his fellow performers, and doesn’t get paid for the theatre work. They do this for the love of theatre and l’m so grateful for the time and effort they all put in so people like me, on low incomes, can come along and enjoy the arts.

So thank you CPAC. It was a good afternoon’s performance and l’m looking forward to their next show.

**I’ve been told that the rest of the season has been sold out, a good result for CPAC.

**Apologies to Maya Corbett for the smaller photo; there was other children standing near her and l had to crop the photo to protect their identity.

musical theatre

The Little Mermaid


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Another triumph for PLOS Productions.

Let me first acknowledge that l am not a professional reviewer, rather, l am someone who loves musical theatre and all opinions are my own.

I didn’t feel 100% on Sunday and almost cancelled going to the show. Boy, am l glad that l didn’t. It was a great production and to the very high standards of other PLOS shows. I will confess to not knowing the story beforehand.

The 2 leads were strong, especially Hannah Kyberd in the lead role of Ariel. Her voice is beautiful; in fact, the singing overall was excellent. Ellise  Stevens  was a great badie in the role of Aunt Ursula and the performers who played Ariel’s 6 bitchy sisters were perfect.

The orchestra, under the baton of Musical Director Malcolm Huddle, were wonderful as were the costumes and staging. I must commend whoever did the staging, it was outstanding. The underwater scenes with Ariel swimming were very cleverly done.

Overall a great production and one that l would highly recommend. If you’ve never been to a suburban theatre please, please give them a go. The quality of this show is the equal of any high price ticketed show.

I keep the cost down even further by not buying programs. I know this gives the companies more money to stage shows, but, that’s an added cost for those of us on a budget. I support all these companies by buying, and watching, their shows.

Can’t wait for the next PLOS Production.

**The Little Mermaid is playing at the Frankston Arts Centre until January 10.


musical theatre · Tickets

They’re in


These are the first lot of tickets for shows in 2018. There are 2 special ones in there which l will talk about closer to the date.

I’m busy researching, and saving, for the next wave of shows. Meanwhile l will relax with family and friends over the next few weeks and will be back raring to go in the new year.

I wish you all a happy festive season full of laughter and love. See you in 2018.

musical theatre

Membership and tickets


Well, l’m all signed up for next year.

I’ve taken out 12 months membership with the Frankston Arts Centre. The prices are very reasonable, $40 for a single adult membership. There are perks that come with the membership: tickets are cheaper, l get invites to previews of the shows, l can have a pre show meal at a cheaper price and l get to see what’s coming up earlier than the public too. I’ve bought tickets to 3 shows already.

Frankston Arts Centre is a suburban theatre in outer Melbourne. These are the theatres l go to because this is where, in my opinion, you can find affordable prices. I’ve gone to shows in outer suburban theatres all over Melbourne and let me tell you, l’ve never seen a bad show.

I sometimes feel like the major papers in Melbourne think that the arts stop at the outskirts of the inner city suburbs. How wrong they are, the arts are thriving in the suburbs and this is what l will be writing about.

My first show is in the first week of January. The budget is in place, l know how much l can spend and l can’t wait for it all to start. I’m going to be immersed in the arts in 2018.

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