Tim Minchin launches HOTA's Outdoor Program in spectacular style

Crowds flocked to HOTA's new Outdoor Stage to see Tim Minchin - photographed by LEXIMAGERY

Where? HOTA’s brand new outdoor stage (135 Bundall Rd, Surfers Paradise)
When? March 17, 2018

In February, the Gold Coast Arts Centre unveiled their new stage and new name and became HOTA, Home of the Arts. On Saturday night, HOTA’s Outdoor Program kicked off at their spectacular new venue, christening the stage with a free performance by inimitable Australian showman Tim Minchin.

The 39 Steps (Queensland Theatre)

Hugh Parker as Richard Hannay and Liz Buchanan as Annabella Shmidt

Where? Cremorne Theatre, QPAC
When? February 24 – March 28, 2018

Part noir murder mystery and part comedy sketch, Queensland Theatre’s season of The 39 Steps makes brilliant use of physical comedy and farce, spy movie and thriller tropes, audience interaction and melodrama to deliver a theatre experience that will make you giggle and gasp.

ACADA International Cake Show

Gorgeous cake by Faye Cahill

Where? Brisbane Showgrounds Exhibition Building, Bowen Hills
When? 18-20 May, 2018

The Australian Cake Artists and Decorators Association is bringing the three-day International Cake Show to Brisbane this year, and it’s a pretty sweet line-up.

The event will feature some of the world’s leading creators of edible art, including international cake decorators and some of Australia’s favourite cake artists, in competition across 22 categories, ranging from wedding cakes to cupcake bouquets and sugar-crafting. The theme of this year’s architectural tribute cake category is An Iconic Australian Structure and in recognition of the upcoming royal marriage, there is also a tribute category to Sir Eddie Spence, the master of royal icing, who has decorated many Buckingham Palace cakes over the years.  

Thousands of edible artists, cake decorators, cake bosses, professional pastry chefs, bakers, chocolatiers, and food personalities from around the world will be converging on Brisbane for this special event, which will include a two-day live international bake-off (Team Australia V Team Rest of the World!) which will be televised. 

You don’t have to be a pro to compete for the crown – almost all categories are open to the public! Or, if you’re more of an appreciator/eater than a baker/decorator, you can enjoy the program of workshops and masterclasses, live installations, hands-on creation zones, pop-up shops…I’m drooling already.

Cake (I can't believe it is a cake!) by Serdar Yener

Tickets are available here – adults are $24 and students/pensioners $15 for a day pass, or you can purchase a 3-day Show Pass for $50. Or, you could try your luck in our Instagram giveaway! We have two three-day passes for the show to give away, which would give you full access to view all of the cakes, including the spectacular cake installations which are sure to be a feature.

Amazing lion cookie by Anita Human

REVIEW: Converge (Expressions Dance Company)

Ensemble in Richard Casuer's Imposters, photographed by FenLan Chuang

Where? Queensland Conservatorium Theatre, Griffith University, South Bank
When? March 10-17, 2018

Expressions Dance Company’s first production of 2018, Converge, is presented in partnership with the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University (QCGU) and features four compelling new contemporary dance works from established and emerging Australasian choreographers. The two local choreographers also collaborated with emerging QCGU composers to create original music for their pieces, and the dancers were accompanied onstage by a twelve-piece ensemble of QCGU musicians, conducted by Professor Peter Luff.

This is the “first time students from the performance and composition disciplines have had the opportunity to work alongside a professional dance company,” Professor Luff said after the show. This is also the first time that contemporary dance has been performed on the Conservatorium Theatre stage, and the result is thrilling.

Epic Visions (Queensland Symphony Orchestra)

Where? Concert Hall, QPAC
When? March 8, 2018

Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s second Maestro concert for 2018, Epic Visions, featured the triumphant return of Hungarian violinist BarnĂ¡bas Kelemen and the QSO-exclusive Australian debut of conductor Eduardo Strausser.

QSO’s principal tuba player Thomas Allely gave the pre-concert talk – I can’t recommend this enough if you are a newbie to orchestral music, like I am. It’s always a joy to listen to people speaking about things they are passionate about, and it really helps to contextualise the work you are about to hear.   

The first work of the evening was Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, inspired by the natural feature Fingal’s Cave on the uninhabited island of Staffa in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. Mendelssohn visited the location in 1829 and was inspired to write a piece that expressed the feeling of loneliness and overawe by nature, and being in a place that makes you feel small by comparison.  

The Manganiyar Seduction (Can & Abel Theatres Production)

Where? Concert Hall, QPAC
When? March 1-2, 8pm

The Manganiyar Seduction mesmerised Brisbane audiences at QPAC for two nights only (Melbourne and Adelaide, they’re coming for you next!).

First created by Roysten Abel to open the Delhi Film Festival in 2006, this original work features 40 musicians from 3 generations sharing a stage. As hypnotic as the swelling music is, it is the beautiful and unusual setting that really awes. The musicians create their magic within an ornate, 36-window scaffold, inspired by the “red palace” Hawa Mahal in Jaipur and the red light district in Amsterdam but often compared to a glittering jewel box.

The stage began in darkness, red velvet curtains drawn over the performers. Starting with one musician, more curtains were pulled open to reveal more musicians and singers, with the musical experience building to a crescendo over 80 minutes. Lighting was used to shift and focus audience attention as the music moved across and around the stage, with the complexity and speed of the lights also increasing in tempo alongside the music.

Review: Aladdin (Disney Theatrical Productions)

Photography by Jeff Busby.

Where? Lyric Theatre, QPAC
When? February 23 – June 3, 2018

After highly successful seasons in Sydney and Melbourne, Aladdin has finally come to show Brisbane A Whole New World! Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions and much anticipated by Queensland audiences, the musical officially opened at QPAC’s Lyric Theatre on Saturday night to gasps of wonder and a standing ovation.

Piano Power (Queensland Symphony Orchestra)

Where? Concert Hall, QPAC
When? February 17
Queensland Symphony Orchestra presented Piano Power, the first in their 2018 Maestro series, on Saturday night – a stunning collection of styles and sounds, featuring award-winning French classical pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and conducted with passionate precision by young Scandinavian Daniel Blendulf.

A surprisingly interactive pre-concert talk, delivered with great charisma by Lachlan Snow, makes the performance easier to understand and appreciate for those of us who are not well-acquainted with symphonic theory or history.