As a young boy, going to a "department store" was an experience that I always loved.
I remember traipsing behind my mother, eyes wide open as I stared at the polished floors and shelves of fancy wares. The staff were always impeccably dressed as well as decidedly non-disposed to little boys wandering around staring, just like flight attendants and train guards.
I didn't care, I found all three of them magical at a young age.
That wide-eyed wonder for a glamorous career also is found in the central character of Brisbane Arts Theatre's new show, Ladies in Black. Lisa Miles is a fresh-faced girl who takes a job in a swish department store after finishing school.
From the first moment she steps foot onto the women's clothing store, she realises that she's now part of a very exclusive society. A group of coiffed, polished, cuttingly blunt ladies. Ladies who will look her up and down, take her under their wings, and burst into song. And then hiss at the customers who dare to pester them for a bottle of perfume or some unmentionables.
What follows is a production featuring local actors, comedy and superb set design, as well as music scored by Tim Finn. The music ranges from grander Broadway-style showstoppers to a bit of jazz and some more intimate ballads.
This is the perfect type of show for the Arts Theatre; larger than life without being over the top and too much to take in, yet close and intimate enough to be able to see the actors' faces. One minute they'll be belting out a show tune, and the next softly singing to one another. Shows at this theatre tend to involve the cast walking down the aisle and past the audience, so you'll definitely feel like part of the action!
Before and after the performances, relaxing in the outdoor bar area with a grown-up drink is a nice way to enjoy the atmosphere. It's a small theatre and doesn't come with the same sort of logistical nightmares like queueing and parking at large theatre complexes.
Getting to Brisbane Arts Theatre is very easy. Located at 210 Petrie Terrace, it's only around an 800-meter walk from Roma St Station. Plan your journey with Translink here.
If you prefer to drive, there is free 4-hour parking available on either side of Petrie Terrace after 7pm on weekdays and at all times on the weekend. On Suncorp Stadium game days, Petrie Terrace is excluded from the Lang Park Traffic Area's 15-minute restrictions. To avoid a parking fine, do not park in the side streets during events, which are limited to 15 minutes where unsigned. Alternative parking is available on Countess St below Hargraves Park, parallel to the Busway.
To keep up with this and upcoming events at the Brisbane Arts Theatre, make sure to like their Facebook page.