Reds 2023Bronwen James. Star Theatres – The Chapel. 20 Oct 2023


Reds is a cabaret about rangas that surprises as much as it brilliantly entertains.


Bronwen James is a ranga of a certain age who’s been in show business since she was 12. Reds offers a chance to reflect on her life and the lives of an extraordinary range of female redheads in history who changed the world through popular culture, politics and industrial relations.


The ‘didn’t know that’ educational side of this production is as brilliant as James’s warm hearted, comic and satirically biting takes on her life experiences, travails, and the long-lasting legacy of redheads past and present. Her take on Julia Gillard and Pauline Hanson alone are worth the ticket price.


James is high energy from start to finish. The laughs keep coming. Her song and dance routines are a snappy blend of vaudeville, quick costume changes, and multiple perfect accent shifts from scouser, to bogan, to American. Her adapted lyrics to well-known tunes are as biting and snappy as they are thought provoking.


Set, lighting design, costume and video projections are at high production standard. James knows how to do showstopper stuff right.

James successfully melds thoughtful contemplation of her life, a difficult year in which her mother died as well as dear family friend and performer Phil Skinner with the identity challenges being a sensitive redhead performer brings.

Those challenges are vast.


It’s this brave, authentic vulnerability James’s production is shot through with which makes it the complete experience it is. Connections between her story and those she regales us with make complete sense. There’s a tremendously hopeful consideration of what it means being able to step outside a stereotype and claim a personal identity.


David O’Brien


When: 20 to 27 Oct

Where: Star Theatres The Chapel