The southern hemisphere’s oldest surviving amateur theatre company, The Adelaide Repertory Theatre, has just launched its 2015 season of four productions. They are a good mixture of outright melodrama silliness, gentle comedy and touching human drama.
First cab off the rank in April is Quartet, written by Ronald Harwood (The Dresser) and directed by Glenn Vallen. It is the delightful story of four ageing opera singers reunited in a retirement home for musicians. Director Vallen says that this is one of those rare scripts that offer good meaty roles for more mature actors. This is indeed the case when one learns who the actors were in Dustin Hoffman’s 2012 directorial debut of the film version: Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins, Tom Courtenay and Billy Connolly. Quartet very much looks to be a moving and charming comedy.
The second production, in June, It’s Just Sex, is an Australian premiere. Written by Jeff Gould and directed by Erik Strauts, it is the story of three couples having an evening of kid-free fun where secrets and truths are finally revealed. It promises to be a ‘talk about it on the way home in the car’ type of play. Strauts describes the play as “a comedic and thought-provoking look at fidelity, lust, communication, and what it really takes for a marriage to survive and thrive”. It’s Just Sex is already cast, and will feature James Whitrow, Bronwyn Ruciak, Luke Budgen, Sharon Pitardi, Steve Parker and Tess O’Flaherty.
Famed Irish playwright Martin McDonagh’s poetic comic masterpiece, The Cripple of Inishmaan is the Rep’s third offering of the year, to take place in September. The story of cripple Billy, who does nothing but stare at cows and dreams of getting out of Inishmaan, is to be directed by Kerrin White – who has already given The Rep two McDonagh successes with his highly acclaimed productions of The Beauty Queen of Leenane and A Skull in Connemara). The title role will be played by Matt Houston, recently seen as Harry in The Rep’s recent hilarious production of Tom, Dick & Harry.
Good old fashioned fun and silliness will see the 2015 season out with Only an Orphan Girl, written by Henning Nelms and to be directed by Adelaide theatre identity Pam O’Grady. This is Music Hall and Melodrama in its truest form. What better way to end the year, than by cheering the hero, hissing the villain, sharing a sing-a-long and laughing one’s socks off!
Yearly subscriptions to the Adelaide Rep are available for $70 (single membership) or $140 (double membership). This entitles you to four tickets to any of the 2015 productions, one bonus ticket to introduce a friend to the Rep, plus additional seats for shows at $17 a ticket.
Here’s to a prosperous New Year for the Adelaide Repertory Theatre!
Report by Brian Godfrey
Photo: Andrew Crowley