Review: The Lyin’ Queen – Sydney Opera House (NSW)

Review by Christian Thomas

After a Year of lockdowns and social distancing, do yourself a favour and go out and see ‘The Lyin Queen, now is the time to laugh Sydney! If you love musical numbers, glamour, crude humour and above all a fun and fabulous night out, then look no further than The Lyin’ Queen.

This outrageous show (written by Trevor Ashley and Phill Scott) is a highly theatrical and colourful experience that takes you to a world that is so different, yet familiar. The audience is transported to a remote island off the East Coast of Queensland, inhabited by genetic mutated animals. An eccentric billionaire, Dr Richard Rabbitborough (Todd McKenney), has built a theme park on the Island and wants to promote his new attraction to the world. Then comes washed up actress Gaye Wray (Ashley) who simply cannot move away from the stint on the Australian soppy. She receives a phone call from the Doctor, asking the star to perform in a commercial to promote the theme park. Wray, who is desperate for the cash, cannot resist and flies to the island. When Wray arrives, she is met by two other Doctors (Shannon Dooley as a blonde botanist and Brendan Irving as the intrepid social media influencer) and things simply do not appear as they would seem.


From The Lion King to Jurassic Park and other familiar mash up of your favourite 1990’s films, this comedic parody is a true laugh out loud experience. In a world of cancel culture, it is refreshing to see theatre that is not scared to push the boundaries of comedy and have audiences reflect on the world around them. The Lyin’ Queen make references from COVID-19, to Jeffery Epstein, to our former Premier; it is not afraid to address what we as a Sydney audience have experienced and the people around us.

Ashley is absolute perfection, she is truly delightful and has the perfect balance of class, offence and obscenity which is what this production does so well.

Yet this is perfected and done so in such a subtle manner you don’t know what is coming next. You honestly have sore ribs from laughing out loud! The comedic genius of this magical production is just one ingredient that help this irreverent piece of theatre come to life. The singing and musical numbers are simply suburb and the remixing and refining of lyrics to classic Australian pop songs has audiences in stitches. From my ‘Island home” to “Now I can dance”, the music of this production is pure joy.

Ashleyis absolute perfection, she is truly delightful and has the perfect balance of class, offence and obscenity which is what this production does so well.

Todd McKenny as the doctor is just joy incarnate, his presence on this stage and in this production with twenty plus years in the theatre gives the show true form.

The other supporting roles of Shauntelle Benjamin, Shannon Dooley and Brendan Irving are sensational. Again, the singing, dancing, and the inclusion of the silks in their costuming work, adding another layer of drama and theatricality to this flamboyant production.  

Although not for the faint hearted, The Lyin’ Queen is a theatrical experience that is truly unique and unlike anything you have seen before. The perfect mix of Drag and theatre is a perfect concoction that allows you to sit back relax and be horrified, offended, and enthralled.

Reviewer Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Lyin’ Queen plays at the Sydney Opera House’s Playhouse Theatre until December 12.

Presented by Tim Lawson & TAE
Starring   Trevor Ashley
                      Todd McKenney
                       Shauntelle Benjamin
                      Shannon Dooley
                       Brendan Irving
Written by      Trevor Ashley and Phil Scott
Choreography      Cameron Mitchell
Costumes       Angie White
Lighting Design     Gavan Swift

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About the author
Christian Gillett

Christian has been passionate about theatre from a young age. As a theatre performer and dancer from 12 years old, Christian loves nothing more than the stage. As an experienced drama teacher with over 8 years experience, Christian is still passionate about seeing as much theatre as possible and spreading the word to as many people as he can.

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