Polly Simons

Writer, critic and editor with more than 10 years of experience writing for publications including Australian Book ReviewThe Daily Telegraph, The Australian and Time Out (Sydney and Melbourne).

Now a Sydney-based freelancer, I specialise in writing about arts, culture, entertainment and lifestyle topics for Australian and UK websites, newspapers and commercial clients.

Review: My Brilliant Career

My Brilliant Career may not be Belvoir’s first post-pandemic show, but it’s surely the most joyous. Hot on the heels of a government exemption raising audience numbers to seventy-five per cent capacity, the mood on opening night was exuberant – almost as exuberant as Sybylla Melvyn, My Brilliant Career’s impossible yet impossible-not-to-love protagonist.
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Meet the 25-year-old playwright taking over Australian theatres this year

It’s safe to say that 25-year-old Thai-Australian playwright Anchuli Felicia King is pretty busy right now. After premiering her first (yes, first) play, White Pearl, at London’s Royal Court Theatre in June, she’s about to take it to Sydney Theatre Company and then Washington DC. Then there’s her play Golden Shield, which is about to open at Melbourne Theatre Company. Meanwhile, Slaughterhouse will premiere at Belvoir’s independent space, 25A, in October.

Legendary nude cabaret Crazy Horse Paris is coming to Sydney

WITH long hair and sky-high stilettos, a woman in silhouette poses on all fours above a curved seat, her back dipped into a perfect arch. To the sound of Anthony And The Johnsons, she slides slinkily down and into a seamless high kick. “To be a Crazy Girl is to be a woman who is sure she is beautiful, who is sure that she can hold an audience, even if she is the only one on stage,” explains Svetlana Konstantinova, the former dancer turned show manager of the famous nude cabaret, Crazy Horse Paris.

Grittier Cabaret is back in all its glory and debauchery

IT’S been 50 years since Fred Ebb and John Kander’s tribute to the decadence and debauchery of 1930s Berlin hit the stage, but Cabaret is still as anarchic as it ever was. Anyone expecting a re-enactment of the Bob Fosse-choreographed razzle dazzle of the 1972 movie musical is in for a surprise however. With producer David M. Hawkins and director Nick Christo at the helm, this is a grittier, more sinister and more nuanced version — and infinitely better for it.

National Skills Week 2016

NATIONAL Skills Week kicks off on Monday, highlighting the many opportunities offered by vocational education and encouraging people to learn more about the career paths it provides. According to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research, about 4.5 million people were enrolled in vocational education and training (VET) across Australia in 2015, of which about 278,600 of these were apprentices and trainees. “A lot of people don’t understand the diversity of careers that vocational education and training offers,” says Kirstin Casey, general manager of SkillsOne, which is driving the annual event in partnership with stakeholders.

Why soft skills are hard to find

ONCE upon a time, academic results were the best indication of the career you could expect after graduation. Ace every test and you could be assured that the right doors would open when it came to finding your first full-time job. Increasingly, however, top marks are no longer enough to get you into the job of your dreams. “Soft skills” – those nebulous abilities such as communication skills, collaboration and conflict resolution – are replacing technical knowledge as the go-to abilities for employers seeking the next generation of leaders.

Unmissable Secret River more powerful with time

WHEN The Secret River opened in January 2013 as part of Sydney Festival, Sydney knew it was witnessing something special. Three years later, just how special is becoming clear. Andrew Bovell’s adaption of Kate Grenville’s book is a landmark work. An Australian classic, perhaps even more important now than it was then, given how little has changed. This restaging for Sydney Theatre Company has director Neil Armfield back at the helm, and brings back a few familiar faces, namely Trevor Jamieson and Nathaniel Dean as the play’s two protagonists, Dharug man Ngalamalum and pardoned convict William Thornhill.

Heathers is loud, proud and wonderfully sassy

EVERY decade had its teen movie — the 70s had Grease, the 90s Clueless and the Noughties Mean Girls. But all err on the side of saccharine in comparison toHeathers, the 1988 blacker-than-black high school cult classic starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater that flopped at the cinema but went on to became a cult classic. Heathers is a sugar-free zone — and the musical based on the film is no exception. Like all good teen movies, it starts with an outsider, in this case smart-mouthed Veronica Sawyer (Jaz Flowers), whose talent for forgery brings her to the attention of the alpha females of Westerberg High, known as The Heathers.
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