Best of Brisbane theatre 2018 – theatre feature

Back when I was reviewing for Brisbane’s Spectrum radio show I created the “Scottie” Awards. They were based entirely on my taste in entertainment and collated basically as a tribute the people who gave me a lot of pleasure and whose work I admire. This year I have decided to revive this annual event. So here goes…

La Bayadère

Best Production: Qld Ballet’s La Bayadère. In March I wrote: This new production of La Bayadère could go down as Queensland Ballet’s Ballet Master and Head of Artistic Operations Greg Horsman’s masterpiece. It was an absolute privilege to watch this world premiere production unfold. It was sumptuous, spectacular, lavish, elegant and gaspingly beautiful to see. It was classical ballet in its purest form.

Best Male dancer: Victor Estévez (as Prince Solor in La Bayadère)

Best Female Dancer: Laura Hidalgo (as Nikiya in La Bayadère)


Best Orchestral performance: Alondra conducts Mahler 3 (Queensland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alondra de la Parra). This was simply a triumph. I have never seen such an audience reaction in the Concert Hall: a five minute standing ovation, cheers, bravos and stamping feet greeted the end if this glorious symphony. It was more like a rock concert that a symphony night out.

Don Giovanni

Best Production: Opera Queensland’s Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; directed by Lindy Hume. Lindy Hume’s darkly delicious production of the Mozart masterpiece has “hit” written all over it. From the stirring opening overture to the amazing finale, with fifty-odd mostly fully naked women pushing Don Giovanni to hell, it gripped, titillated, amused, and at times brought gasps of disbelief from a shell-shocked audience.

Independent theatre

Best Independent Drama: A Christmas Carol, shake & stir Theatre Company and QPAC presentation, by Charles Dickens, adapted by Nelle Lee , directed by Michael Futcher. This fine adaptation of Charles Dickens’ immortal tale is dark and moody, scary and funny and filled with dozens of characters all played by the seven actors and with the marvellous music of Salliana Campbell.

Best Independent Musical: Little Match Productions’ The Owl and the Pussycat. Writer and librettist Kathryn Marquet, composer Lisa Cheney, directed by Bridget Boyle. Short show, short season but long on fun and entertainment that’s this production – and I suspect that The Owl and the Pussycat mini-opera will be entertaining kids and adults for a long time to come. The 45-minute production is based around Edward Lear’s nonsense poem classic, which has been a favourite for generations

A Christmas Carol

Best Independent Comedy: The Longest Minute, by Robert Kronk and Nadine McDonald-Dowd, directed by Bridget Boyle, Queensland Theatre/Debase Theatre Productions/JUTE Theatre Company production. The play had great characters, a brilliantly human storyline, and moved as fast as a wingman with a try scoring intercept. And it all revolves around the 2015 NRL Grand Final and a Townsville family of North Queensland Cowboys fans. If you were a league fan you’d have loved it, and if you had no sporting interest whatsoever you would will still love it.

Best Male Actor in an independent production: There’s a joint winner for this one – Bryan Probets as the Ghosts and Eugene Gilfeder as Scrooge in shake & stir’s A Christmas Carol. This fine adaptation of Charles Dickens’ immortal tale is dark and moody, scary and funny and filled with dozens of characters all played by the seven actors and with the marvellous music of Salliana Campbell.

Best Director in an independent production: Michael Futcher; shake & stir’s A Christmas Carol.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical

Best Musical: Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical, presented by Michael Cassell Group and Nullarbor Production in association with MGM on Stage, directed by Simon Phillips. Opening night was a joyous occasion as the bright and beautiful show exploded with colour and energy that only happens when all the planets align. And they did that night. The Lyric Theatre was packed to the rafters with eager fans that cheered at every familiar moment, and even pre-empted some great scenes with cheers at the start.

Best male performer in a musical: Tony Sheldon (playing Bernadette, in Priscilla).

Best female performer in a musical: Lena Cruz (as Cynthia in Priscilla). The mail-order bride, the exotic Cynthia, was played brilliantly by Lena Cruz. She was a former exotic dancer who was not going let the queens steal her show – and what a show she put on, who will ever forget the ping-pong ball tricks?


Best Drama Production: Nearer the Gods by David Williamson, directed by Sam Strong (premiere and official opening of the Bille Brown Theatre, Queensland Theatre). This is David Williamson’s best. It has everything: a great storyline, conflict, love, passion, fascinating new, for many, historical alliances, a wonderfully written script with lightening moments of Williamson’s penetrating wit and an array of historical characters that are brilliantly brought to life. I loved every second of the couple of hours it took to tell the tale of Isaac Newton and the unleashing of his Laws of Motion.

Best comedy Production: Black is the New White, by Nakkiah Luii directed by Paige Rattray. What a magnificent start to the 2018 Queensland Theatre program. This was without doubt the funniest new production I have seen in years. The script is hilarious, the characters well drawn, the acting just about perfect and the direction (with a cast of nine) spot on.

Nearer the Gods

Best Male Actor: Mathew Backer (as Halley in Nearer the Gods).

Best Female actor: Danielle Cormack (as Hedda, Queensland Theatre).

Best Director: Sam Strong for Nearer the Gods

Best Support Male actor: Joss McWilliam as Councillor Brack in Hedda.

Best Support Female Actor: Andrea Moore as the brassy, ocker Julie in Hedda.

Best New Comedy: Neon Tiger by Julia-Rose Lewis, music by Gillian Cosgriff, directed by Kat Henry, La Boite Theatre Company in association with the Brisbane Powerhouse.

Best Lighting /Design: lighting Jason Glenwright, soundscape from Chris Perren, video holograms by Craig Wilkinson for a Christmas Carol.

Best Design: Josh McIntosh A Christmas Carol.


Sam Strong and Queensland Theatre for a magnificent season of great plays.

Alondra de la Parra, for her inspiring leadership of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

Eric Scott
For more of Eric Scott’s writings on theatre, check out Absolute Theatre

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