Performing Arts

Gadzooks! The Rep Serves Up Christmas Ham With Hilarious Music Hall Variety Show 

The Adelaide Repertory Theatre is serving up “ham” early this Christmas, with hilariously over the top music hall show and melodrama Only An Orphan Girl


The Adelaide Repertory Theatre is serving up “ham” early this Christmas, with hilariously over the top music hall show and melodrama Only An Orphan Girl set for a special end-of-year season at the Arts Theatre.

Featuring a moustache-twirling villain, a damsel in distress, and a dashing hero who comes to the rescue in the nick of time, plus a range of colourful variety acts to boot, Only An Orphan Girl is classic 19th century music hall at its scenery-chewing best.

This riotous, fun-filled show is full of audience participation, with audience members encouraged to dress up in Victorian costume and boo and hiss the villain, cheer the hero and sing along with classic songs such as Swanee, Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag, It’s a Long Way to Tipperary and Any Old Iron.

Based on the 19th century British music hall tradition mixing popular old songs, comedy, drama and variety acts, the play follows cackling villain Arthur Rutherford (Barry Hill – Cats, The Sound of Music,) as he plots a wicked plan to swindle his late brother’s fortune from his long lost daughter, sweet orphan girl Nellie (Sophia Bubner – Mary Poppins, Guys and Dolls).

Sophia Bubner & Robert Bell in 'Only An Orphan Girl'

Sophia Bubner & Robert Bell in ‘Only An Orphan Girl’

But will Nellie be rescued by dashing farm boy Dick (Robert Bell – 2015 Adelaide Theatre Guide Best Actor) before Rutherford’s dastardly plan comes to fruition? Or will the young lovers be blown to smithereens with dynamite? Or be turned into splinters by a comically oversized timber mill buzz-saw? And what’s that pantomime cow got to do with any of it?

Following The Rep’s 2011 and 2013 hits Love Rides the Rails and The Mystery of the Hansom Cab, Only An Orphan Girl will be the third in the company’s popular biennial music hall series.

Music hall is a very particular genre that’s all about hammy, over the top acting, exaggerated comedy, elaborate costumes and songs, a bit like pantomime for grown-ups,” says director Pam O’Grady.

It’s so much fun for the audience because they can yell out, they can sing along, they can cheer and hiss and boo. It’s very interactive and makes for a really different night out at the theatre.

Only An Orphan Girl is a perfect example of a classic music hall show – hilariously funny, ridiculously over the top and full of good, old-fashioned fun.”

Featuring a special “real magic” appearance by South Australian entertainment legend Wayne Anthoney (Humboldt the Clown, Dr Plonk), a live band led by Adelaide You’re a Lady viral YouTube sensation Sandi McMenamin, and a stunningly unrealistic pantomime cow, Only An Orphan Girl promises to be a rollicking good night of old-fashioned, silly season fun.

Only An Orphan Girl also features Joshua Coldwell, Gary Anderson, Jude Hines, Penny Hamilton-Smith, Jean Walker, Rose Vallen, Bec Kemp and Annie Hall: and runs in a limited season of just eight performances at The Arts Theatre, 53 Angas St Adelaide, from November 19 to 28, with all tickets $22 or less.

Book at or call 8212 5777


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