Thursday, April 27, 2023

Get a warm, spirited bula bula welcome in fabulous, fun Fiji

Fiji's "Bula Bus" takes its name from the language. "Bula bula" means hello and is a widely used
greeting in friendly Fiji. Here, the bus runs around Denarau Island with tourists enjoying the day.

This handsome Fijian boy posed for us.



FIJI IS BEAUTIFUL. It offers sheer fun and relaxation with friendly people, beaches, fruit and flowers galore.

From your first greeting -- a hearty "bula bula" -- until your departure (we were both misty eyed), you'll be  happy to have found this peaceful place.
Pronounced ''buu-laa'', this common Fiji phrase translates to ''hello" or "welcome" and you'll hear it everywhere.  "Bula, bula," the bus driver welcomes you. His transport is called the "Bula Bus."
"Bula, bula" shopkeepers echo. Passersby share a happy "bula bula." The bartenders say it with a grin.
Fiji's famous spider
lily abounds here.

Bruce Keller stops to admire abundant Fiji flowers.

Even cranky looking people soften and smile when they say "bula bula" -- it's a fun phrase and trips off the tongue with delight!

WE CAN'T CLAIM to know all of Fiji, just a small, happy corner many times visited. We base our stay at the lovely Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa, where we have friends and can use our Hilton Diamond Honors points for upgrades. The staff is amiable and efficient and there are flowers everywhere -- including your bed!

Flowers are part of the Hilton's
welcome and the culture in Fiji
-- hibiscus on your bed each day.

archipelago of more than 300 islands, famed for rugged landscapes, palm-lined beaches and coral reefs with clear lagoons. Divers and snorkelers love it. Whale watchers, too.

Fiji Islands: Big bottom island
 is where Denarau is, on the far
 left side, only a small segment. 
Viti Levu and Vanua Levu contain most of the population. Denarau, where we spend time, is a small private resort development on the western side of Viti Levu.  It's known for its "Republic of Fiji Shuttles" affectionately called "Bula Bus." Ten drivers man these charming open air buses with views of picturesque Denarau Island. The Bula Bus travels between  major international hotels, including our favorite Hilton Fiji Resort, Denarau Golf and Racquet Club and the bustling Port Denarau Marina. The buses operate on a continuous loop departing approximately every 15 minutes 
This poster previews a Fiji
dance performance held
at several resorts.

from 7:30 a.m. to
Fine dining at Fiji's Hilton Resort which offers
several top restaurant choices with gourmet fare.

11:30pm, 7 days a week. Tickets for all day unlimited travel are $8 per adult and a four-day pass unlimited for $24 per adult. Children under 12 travel free with paying adults.
New friends are easy to make
in Fiji, where smiles and
welcomes are common.

Lovely flowers are everywhere.

WE ALSO enjoyed traditional dance shows, boat rides, and a day tour. We passed on the zip line and snorkeling excursions, taking walks instead. There's the Kula Wild Adventure Park, originally a bird park, but now a "Family Fun Park" and an ecological preserve right in Viti Levu. We saw families coming and going, all smiling and looking pleasantly tired from the activities.

OUR LITTLE corner of Fiji was just right for combining relaxation and reading with easy-going sight seeing. We hopped on and off the Bula Bus, strolled around the harbor, took a couple Uber rides to attractions and mainly read and rested. If you wish to do more you can. Snorkeling is world class, there's plenty of shopping and ice cream stands abound.

A light afternoon rain didn't dampen spirits at
Hilton's Fiji Resort, with world class comforts.

What stands out about Fiji, though, is its people.
Whether serving a meal, showing how to properly cut a coconut, or working a loom, Fijians offers a smile, a chance to learn, grow, relax and rewind.
Actor and writer Omri Schein, center, is a dapper, witty
Hercule Poirot, backed by a letter-perfect ensemble in a world
premier drama based on an Agatha Christie classic.;

BEST ON THE BOARDS: "Murder on the Links" at San Diego's Northcoast Repertory Theatre is sheer delight. In a lively interpretation of Agatha Christie's most popular whodunits, Omri Schein shines as Hercule Poirot, backed by a fabulous, point-perfect ensemble. Clever playwright Steven Dietz brings the famed and ever-so-suave Belgian detective to life to solve one of Christie's most intricate whodunits. Our fellow playgoers laughed and clapped at the lovely set, and the antics and gestures of the well-tuned cast. Fun, frivolous, Stylish shtick, classy camp, nuances galore -- a fast-paced whodunnit guaranteed to amuse. On through May 21.

These four hungry diners prepare to tuck into Spam burgers, 
Spam tacos,  Spam eggrolls and a decadent frozen dessert.
 Let's hear it for Spam. That sometimes disparaged staple of many diets was developed by Hormel in 1937 and rose to popularity with the troops in World War II. Children grow up with spam and it is an important part of millions of diets -- from Hawaii to South Korea.  Spam is celebrated in Honolulu all year, especially during the city's annual "Spam Jam" held each year. We happened to be in Honolulu this week and took in the lively festival where a major street is blocked off for two dozen food and art booths to celebrate all manner of Spam delights. Thousands rock out to live  Hawaiian music, not minding the long lines. It's a truly fun time. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin on food, family, travel, performance, nature and more:  

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Spectacular Sydney: harbor, port, restaurants, bridge, Opera House

Sydney, Australia: sparkling in early evening, from a climb atop the famous Sydney Harbor Bridge.
It's fun to look for your cruise ship in the water far below.  We've sailed here twice aboard Celebrity.

School children, neatly dressed,
head for an outing in downtown
Sydney, with busy teachers to
control and safely direct them.


If you're cruising, book one that begins or ends     in Sydney and plan a few days to explore  

The bridge is an architectural
masterpiece, offering splendid
views of the city and harbor.


SYDNEY HAS IT ALL! This lively Australian city offers one of the world's most picturesque harbors, a thriving performing arts center in its Sydney Opera House, a bustling economy, restaurants for every taste and budget, accommodating and cheerful people, great hotels, a picture perfect beloved beach and construction everywhere. 
Sydney is a town on the move, but it retains the charm that has marked it since its founding on Jan. 26, 1788. That's when the first fleet of convicts and soldiers arrived, under the  
Gay pride is big in downtown Australia, where signs promote
Gay Pride month, coming in June of this year.

governorship of Arthur Phillip. A few relics and names on a map remain to pay homage to these intrepid city founders.
Sydney is capital city of New South Wales and one of Australia's largest cities.  It is known globally for its stunning harbor front Opera House with its distinctive sail-like design and its impressive Harbour Bridge (Brits and Aussies spell harbor with the "u" as they do with "colour.")
OUR CELEBRITY ship docked in massive Darling Harbor. We peered down on it from our perch on the bridge, enjoying the view of it and the smaller Circular Quay port, hubs of Sydney's important waterside life. We love climbing the arched Harbor Bridge and visiting Royal Botanic Garden nearby. Take a pleasant walk through the pretty, bustling streets. 
If you want a higher view than the bridge affords, Sydney Tower’s 
The Sydney Tower indeed "towers" as Sydney's
tallest building and a frequently visited landmark.

outdoor platform, the Skywalk, offers 360-degree views of the city and suburbs from 1,014 feet. It is the city's tallest building and a pleasant stroll from our base at West Hotel Sydney.
IF YOU STAY in the Sydney central business area, you'll be within easy walking distance to many of the city's famous landmarks and buildings.
The city itself is an architectural wonder.  Magnificent older buildings add a stately air to the town, while hundreds of newer buildings tower  
The Commonwealth Bank of
 Australia dates back to 1910. National
symbols are the kangaroo and emu.
above the city's central business district. There, on Market Street between Pitt and Castlereagh Streets, you'll find entertainment venues, and an array of cafes and restaurants. Because we spent a week, we mingled with nicely dressed office workers and shoppers on week days. Weekends, we were among tourists heading to Darling Harbor’s waterfront bars, and thronging the promenade linking the historic Rocks area with the Sydney Opera House. Parks are popular in Sydney and the Royal Botanic Gardens offer harbor views, which we enjoyed during several picnics.
SYDNEY IS named after Lord Sydney, who was British home secretary when Captain Phillip and the First Fleet arrived in January 1788. In a letter, Phillip described the colony in Sydney Cove as having “the finest harbor in the world” in which “a thousand sail of the line may ride in the most perfect security.”
"Cookie and Keller" climbed
Sydney Harbor Bridge
for the second time.

West Hotel Sydney is a Curio Collection property of the
Hilton brand, with many elegant, welcoming touches.

THEN -- to the Rocks, named aptly after the massive stone on which the city was built. 
Sydney's downtown offers dozens
of skyscrapers, clean, wide streets. 
This neighborhood offers upscale eateries, small cafes with live music and frequent concert venues.  The Rocks, a pleasant maze of historic laneways, sits in the shadow of Sydney Harbor Bridge. We like this neighborhood, where locals and tourists mingle at the open-air Rocks Markets and where we grabbed reasonably priced snacks.  We also purchased delicious Indian inspired street food and admired handmade fashions. The area has some of Sydney’s oldest pubs and many of the Rocks' restaurants offer intimacy, local charm and some nifty harbor views. 
The Museum of Contemporary Art offers local and international exhibits. Buskers perform on the busy harborfront promenade so there's plenty for arts lovers.
BEACH LIFE is an important part of the routine for the locals. Every fellow tourist we met wanted to see at least one of the beaches for which Australia is famous. Sydneysiders welcome locals and tourists alike to one of the world's most famous, Bondi. One can go for a casual swim, sunbathe and visit, or surf the day away on the reliable waves which draw  
an international mix of surfers.  Fit locals swim in the Icebergs ocean pool year-round while the scantily clad simply bask in the sun.
Sydney is a healthy town. Sydneysiders take their smoothies and high-pro breakfasts and lunches in the cafes around Hall Street. The area's many casual pubs welcome locals and tourists -- from backpackers to small, well heeled tour groups. 
 While Bondi Beach has a crescent of sweeping white-sand and waves to attract surfers, walkers and joggers choose the clifftop above Bondi to hike the Coogee Coastal Walk. There, they are surrounded by dramatic scenery.

Bondi Beach with its crescent shape entices both locals and
tourists to enjoy the sun, gentle waves and pleasant hikes. 
YOU WILL need a Visa to visit Australia and it's a good idea to get on that a few weeks or even a couple months before your trip.
Be sure to secure the appropriate visa. We used the Visa Finder to explore your options.
Ensure details are correct and provide all required documents when you apply. An incomplete or incorrect application can delay the process; submitting multiple applications also  slows the process. Be careful and thorough and apply only once. Families and couples must submit one application per person, including children. The Australian Government's Global Service Centre can help.

As the beleaguered performer pursued by a stalker,
Daebreon Poiema shines and dazzles in the role of
singer Rachel Marron. She is backed by a
fabulous ensemble of talented dancers and singers.
--photos by Ken Jacques 

BEST ON THE BOARDS: "The Bodyguard" at Welk Theatre is a tuneful triple-treat for musical theater lovers. This lively, appealing production delivers with flair all the essential goods of the genre: spectacular singing, delightful dancing and talented acting.  The well rehearsed and high-energy company obviously loves their craft and enjoys what they're doing.

As Rachel's sister,
Nicki Marron, Patricia Jewel
stars in her own right
with terrific vocal numbers.
The story of a star pursued by a stalker, and the man hired to watch her was a popular 1992 film starring Kevin Costner.  In the leading role as the performer in need of security, Daebreon Poiema shines.  She shows the range of emotion necessary for the character to be believable.  Her voice is dynamic and her pitch perfect. Backing her as her sister, a brilliant singer who didn't get the breaks
Four major roles are well played by a tight,
talented ensemble. We meet, from left, the singer's
sister, young son, the bodyguard and the shadowed
singer. It's a winning foursome, supported by a
fabulous cast of energetic singers and dancers. 
or fame, is Patricia Jewel. She, too, is perfectly cast and has a bluesy voice to bring down the house.  Lance Arthur Smith plays the title bodyguard with an endearing grace and winning warmth, protecting his charge and befriending her young son.  As the singer's son, Fletcher, Faizi Mahalingam charms the audience with enormous stage presence. Don't miss this production for its enchanting storyline, stunning choreography and beautiful lights, wigs and costumes. It's an emotional ride that leaves the audience standing, cheering and moved. All the right stuff for a fun night or afternoon at the theater.
If you're driving up from San Diego, check out the digs at The Welk.

Enjoy a visit to Fiji, where this man is one of many beautiful, friendly
people we met during our recent week there. "Bula bula" means welcome.

UP NEXT: We're hopping about in the South Pacific, from small islands to the largest one, Australia. Next stop is Fiji, where the "Bula Bus" takes tourists around Denarau Island, from the marina to the hotels and more. Fiji is many islands, best known for its major isle's hospitality, beautiful and friendly people, flowers and fabulous cuisine. Enjoy the abundance of fresh fruit picked that same day. The phrase "bula bula" means welcome. Come with us to explore this friendly place where people are naturally kind and welcoming. Meanwhile, remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh take on travel, nature, performance, family and more:

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Captivating Katoomba: Wonders unfold in scenic Blue Mountain village

The view from the "see through" cable car is spectacular, with views on all sides and even through
the floor. It's a stunning way to view the Blue Mountains, in beautiful Scenic World. 
Then rest, recharge and enjoy the view at lovely Mountain Heritage Hotel.

All aboard the world's steepest
train, for a short, thrilling ride.



 IT IS A TRULY majestic place. Katoomba. The word sounds exotic -- and the place truly is!

Christene "Cookie" Meyers is happy bird-watching
 in the forest of Blue Mountains' Scenic World.
Swirling otherworldly mists, steep streets lined with art-deco buildings, astonishing valley views, and a quirky miscellany of restaurants, buskers, artists, bawdy pubs and a classy, historic hotel awaits you.
We took three days off from two weeks of city touring in Sydney and Brisbane.  The plan was to spend two or three days in lovely Katoomba, using it as a sanctuary, a respite,  between those two busy attractions.
WE INDEED found peace and tranquility in Katoomba, plus spectacular scenery that can't help but inspire. Katoomba is a picturesque place, the chief town in the captivating Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. It's a great choice for a weekend or a mid-week get-away. So with friends, we headed out from Sydney via train on a Wednesday, spending the rest of the week and returning Saturday. 
Our friends had booked the same inn for a couple days, the lovely Mountain Heritage Hotel and Spa.
What makes it a great weekend place are its multiple charms: 
Gourmet fare is artfully served 
at Mountain Heritage's fabulous
restaurant. Here, rare beef.

Posed by the stately Mountain Heritage Hotel,
Bruce Keller and  "Cookie" enjoy a few
scenic days of relaxed touring in Katoomba
There’s something for everyone in Katoomba, from waterfalls the daring can swim under, to lovely sunset spots, a craft brewery and the world’s steepest railway.

Our room at Mountain Heritage
Hotel overlooked the
beautiful Blue Mountains
Katoomba is in the heart of the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains. We found it an inviting place to take those few days off from nearly three months of hectic touring. Scenic World is a huge part of the draw.
WE SETTLED in Hotel Mountain Heritage, an imposing place perched on the edge of a ridge, 300 meters from the heart of Katoomba’s town centre. It's a bit of a walk, but a beautiful one,
slightly uphill. We chose it for its charm, history, word of a fabulous restaurant (it's true!) and panoramic views of the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains. 
Sydney to Katoomba by train
is a comfortable, interesting
way to see the countryside.
This delightful inn has a well trained and friendly staff, a huge bowl of apples to welcome, a full-service bar, grand piano and antiques and historic photos throughout the comfortable lounge areas and rooms. The hotel captures the charm of the past, but with modern amenities. It's a grand, old-fashioned place, a stately one-time hunting lodge turned pampering hotel with one of the best restaurants we encountered in five visits to this vast and varied country.

Katoomba's shops are colorful with a mix of
imports from all over the Pacific and India.

Christene "Cookie" Meyers
plays the grand piano at
Mountain Heritage Inn.
With spectacular  attractions like Scenic World and its Three Sisters, Katoomba is a ''must" when you're planning an Australia itinerary. Particularly if you're in Sydney, you're within easy range so don't miss it.
Our spectacular hotel and restaurant with its calming vibe had hospitality in spades, including  an invitation to play that beautiful vintage grand piano. Our short daily walks to the city revealed a thriving cafe culture, colorful boutiques and galleries galore.
WE SPENT our three days with  bird's-eye views of the valley, centering our time in Scenic World. It's like a "nature oriented Disneyland" where we descended into the Jurassic rainforest on the world’s steepest railway and hopped on the famous Skyway cable car for spectacular 360-degree views of waterfalls, lush foliage and rocky ledges.
Katoomba's train station is small and in the
town's center. Here, "Cookie and Keller" arrive.
THE TOWN is an interesting mix of architecture and a steadfast endorsement of the welcoming spirit for which Australia is famous.  Shopkeepers greet you and people on the street are happy to give directions. Tourism is king. Hotels, restaurants, tour agencies and the town's fun double-decker bus rely on tourism, including conferences. Major draws are clean fresh air, spectacular flora and fauna, and a comfortable, temperate climate. Each town in the Blue Mountains region is filled with history, sights, culture and community spirit. This beautiful area awaits just hours from Sydney.
The world's steepest rail ride
awaits bravery at Scenic World
The glories of the town's natural attractions are not over-stated. Landmarks are remarkable. The dramatic "Three Sisters" sculptural peaks teeter over the Jamison Valley. The thrilling  Scenic World glass-bottom cable car and world's steepest railway are
Waterfalls are a large
part of Scenic World's lure.
goose-bump inducing.  A stroll through the Jurassic rainforest is an invigorating way to spend hours.
WE JUMPED on the red double-decker Explorer Bus all three days, visiting sights dotted along the escarpment. One can also travel in a chauffeured vintage car with Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs.
A Scenic World adventure can entertain for a day or two or
 a week or more, depending on what you wish to see and do. 
Young pals at the hotel  laced up their hiking boots to tackle the Golden Staircase on the Ruined Castle Walking Track. Maybe next time!
If you're too tired to walk your bag from Mountain Heritage back to the train station, the hotel will call a taxi. We took advantage of that service. Fulfilled, rested and happy, we can't wait to return. 
More information:
At left, Kim Strassburger portrays Robyn and Milena S Phillips
is Sharon in a provocative play at New Village Arts, Carlsbad

BEST ON THE BOARDS:  Two gifted actors star in an engaging production at New Village Arts in Carlsbad, north of San Diego. "The Roommate," by Jen Silverman, is a tenderly told story about two very different women thrust together by life. As their friendship deepens into dangerous territory, they examine their lives, weaknesses, strengths and values. Shades of "The Odd Couple" give humor to the story. Although it is laced with wit and humor, it is much more intricate than a sitcom. With fresh direction by Samantha Ginn, fast dialogue and fun music-and-dance interludes, the play offers a thought provoking look at life's intriguing paths and the circumstances that create unlikely but lasting friendships. Through April 23 at a recently expanded space, with an inviting lobby and many welcoming features. 760 284 4393.

Sydney's a place where people dress up and have fun. It's a modern,
exciting city, with a colorful past and plenty to share with visitors.

UP NEXT: Sydney. There's no other city like it. Settled by convicts sent to Australia from Great Britain, this colorful city is one of the world's most diverse and prosperous, with a mix of East-meets-West culture. We take you to the harbor, the beaches, the famous bridge, beach and Sydney Opera House, with a look at how people live, what locals like and what tourists see. Then Fiji beckons, as it has to each of us many times since our first trips in the 1970s, long before we knew one another. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh look at travel, nature, the arts, family and more. Please share the link:

Thursday, April 6, 2023

'Empire Strips Back' is affectionate 'Star Wars' parody, fun burlesque


Fabulous dancing marks "The Empire Strips Back," in San Diego. Here, Chewbacca and Han Solo dress the stage in a wonderful dance. It's  one of the highlights of an action packed, unauthorized burlesque parody of the "Star Wars" trilogy. It is playing through April 30 in San Diego.
--(Photo Courtesy of The Empire Strips Back )



Emcee Eric Newton provides "adults only" banter and slick
intros, with clever commentary and a dramatic sweeping cape.

and Craig Ridgwell

(and courtesy Lucasfilm/20th Century Fox)

Hans Solo and Chewbacca
from the 1977 film. The parody
faithfully recreates familiar
characters and their costumes.

THE FORCE was with us -- and "the farce" paid a visit, too -- in a fun, hip, entertaining parody of the wildly successful "Star Wars" films. We settled into comfy chairs in a "pop up" San Diego theater, for a sexy, energetic and affectionate burlesque redo of one of the film industry's most successful endeavors. 

 The crowd whooped and hollered at a risqué reinvention of the 1977 box office block buster and its spinoffs. We were ringside at "The Empire Strips Back" with pop music, props and puppets in a perfect, fun adult entertainment. You'll find plenty of sexual inuendo as the successful romp plays San Diego, the latest of a dozen major Australian and U.S. cities to feature this engaging, original show. It's selling out every venue it plays, and just finished SRO runs in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

A half-dozen sexy dancers appear as Snowtroopers, in homage 
  to "The Empire Strikes Back," released in 1980. The show
takes its moniker from that chapter of the "Star Wars" oeuvre.


ONE NEED NOT be a "Star Wars" fan to enjoy the show.  We'd both seen the original -- I covered the 1977 world premier -- so we had an affection for the larger-than-life characters and storyline. The audience was mostly people half our age -- hip folks and sci-fi nerds not yet born when the first movie was released. But they knew the characters, perhaps better than the older fans did. Everyone loved the show. One longtime lover of the series told us at intermission that although she considers herself a purist, she thoroughly enjoyed this pleasing new parody -- even though it has little to do with the original story.

colorful characters and
over-the-top costumes, beautiful lighting and terrific dancing, the show is sure to have you laughing and enjoying. It is a stripped down, dressed up, fast paced parody of the beloved trilogy. 

Jabba the Hutt gets huge applause at "The Empire Strips Back."
The fun begins before you enter the auditorium when ushers direct you to your seats with their lightsabers. The delightful emcee, Eric Newton, opens the show with a comely nymph from another galaxy gyrating, smiling inviting us in.

A full bar does booming business, enhancing cheers, whoops and whistles from the full house. The fun tone is set as Eric takes center stage to introduce each fast moving act.
Sultry, sexy dancers in beautifully lit sequences delight
sell-out audiences at a pop-up theater venue in San Diego.

A captive Princess Leia moves sexily in a bikini to Nine Inch Nails’ "Closer." R2D2 does a cute cameo as a space pimp, making the heavens rain by ejecting wads of cash to the delight of the well lubricated audience.
Sexy stormtroopers stomp and grind to a pounding White Strips tune, "Seven Nation Army." A gigantic Jabba the Hutt has the audience giggling and cheering as he gyrates, smiles and leers.
A lightsaber has so much power that its bearer must strip.  There's a stunning dance number by an Olympic style gymnast as Han Solo with an endearing Chewbacca the Wookie. Their sweet, energetic dance has the audience on its feet -- goths and nerds alike.
Fun technical effects include moody lighting.

for some seriously sultry Stormtroopers, an alluring Boba Fett, tempting Twi'leks, a delightfully indifferent Taun Taun, sophisticated Skywalker, Droids aplenty and -- as they say in Vaudeville, "all that and more."
Creator Russall S. Beattie is the muse behind this unauthorized burlesque parody which originated  
Once you get your tickets, you'll enter the
world of parody and fun at a new pop-up venue.

in Australia. The fact that Lucas and Disney haven't endorsed the sell-out production doesn't phase the crowd.  Our Saturday night audience was in a "Star Wars" frenzy, clapping, shouting, cheering for two hours. During the 15-minute intermission, the lobby did a booming business on $14 wine and various souvenirs and paraphernalia. 
CREATOR BEATTIE'S imagination is limitless.  The "adults only" caveat comes for suggestive dancing, bawdy sketches and Eric's lively, x-rated emcee banter. The special effects are fascinating and larger than life, a la that gigantic Jabba the Hutt creature, a wondrous, on utter yet endearing arrogance. An accomplished ensemble plays

Captivating pair: Amanda Sitton and Sean Murray
shine in an elegant "Present Laughter" production.
BEST ON THE BOARDS: Sean Murray is splendidly elegant and sardonic in "Present Laughter," at Cygnet Theatre. The Noel Coward masterpiece, written in a few inspired days, features Murray as the aging actor, beset by midlife issues, an upcoming tour and too many women. Surrounding him is an excellent cast of innocent ingenues, a sardonic housekeeper, no-nonsense secretary, witty wife, demure dilatants,  and hangers on. Each character is portrayed with nuance and style. Trysts, twists and verbal treats abound as Murray dresses the stage in a stunning array of lounging robes. It's a perfect role for him. His extraordinary talent ranges from Don Quixote to Henry Higgins, Ebenezer Scrooge and a smashing turn in "The Rocky Horror Show." As the aging 1930s stage star and playboy, (played by Coward himself in the original production), Murray endows his character with skill, lightness and a fanciful range of facial expressions. The terrific cast maneuvers with ease on a handsome set, under the practiced eye of director/actor Rosina Reynolds. Through April 29. 619-337-1525


Heading into Katoomba town, Christene "Cookie" Meyers
and Bruce Keller are just off the train and off to their hotel.

UP NEXT: Come with us to explore Katoomba, Australia, in all its majesty. From the wonders of Scenic World, to fine dining, a historic rail station and enticing boutiques, this quiet little town near Sydney, Australia, is in another world. A world class inn, Hotel Mountain Heritage, offers spectacular Blue Mountain views and a terrific restaurant. If you're looking for unique surroundings, friendly people, ethnic food and lovely lodging near beautiful Jamison Valley, don't miss Katoomba.  Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin on travel, nature, performance, family and more.