Shows: Corpse takes sib­ling ri­valry to the ex­treme...........

Sib­ling ri­valry is taken to the ex­treme in Corpse, writes Jessica Huxley

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAYCONTENTS -

SWORD fights, pan­cakes and cin­e­matic over­tures are es­sen­tial in­gre­di­ents in lo­cal di­rec­tor Nathan Schulz’s stag­ing of sus­pense­filled com­edy Corpse.

Schulz has drawn in­spi­ra­tion from Al­fred Hitch­cock and Vin­cent Price for the who­dunit thriller, which opens at Gold Coast Lit­tle Theatre, in Southport on Satur­day night.

‘‘I have al­ways wanted to have a go at di­rect­ing Sleuth and Death­trap, so I was im­me­di­ately in­ter­ested in Corpse,’’ Schulz says.

‘‘Within the first pages I came across the line: ‘What do I want you to do? I want you – to mur­der me!’ and from that mo­ment on, I knew I wanted to di­rect it.’’

Set in Lon­don in 1936, Corpse tells the story of Eve­lyn Far­rat, who is in­sanely jeal­ous of his twin brother, Ru­pert.

Eve­lyn em­ploys a shady sergeant ma­jor as part of a plot to kill Ru­pert.

‘‘The twins are both played by Dean Mayer and there are only five char­ac­ters in the play,’’ Schulz says.

‘‘Dean plays the role in a way that sur­passes how I was see­ing him, al­most com­bin­ing the in­ten­sity of Heath Ledger’s Joker and the over-the-top na­ture of Cap­tain Jack Spar­row.

‘‘The other ac­tors, Ce­cile Camp­bell, Thein Sykes and Dar­ren Camp­bell, have also de­vel­oped their char­ac­ters with­out strict guid­ance from me, which has cre­ated an au­then­tic and quirky play – all thanks to the great cast­ing.

‘‘As the only fe­male in the cast, Mrs McGee’s strong char­ac­ter cre­ates a sense of comic re­lief.’’

The ac­tors took fenc­ing lessons to help them pull off a chal­leng­ing fight scene.

‘‘The cast went to three ses­sions with the Gold Coast Fenc­ing Club and they loved it. The scene has be­come so en­er­getic and be­liev­able and they found mus­cles they didn’t think they had,’’ Schulz says.

How­ever, he re­serves his high­est praise for Corpse’s ‘‘silent con­trib­u­tors’’.

‘‘I have the best set de­sign and light­ing team and even the sound­track has helped to lift the play to a new level,’’ he says.

‘‘We took away the cur­tains, so the au­di­ence is im­me­di­ately greeted with the two con­trast­ing sets on stage and get a feel for the two dif­fer­ent so­ci­eties – up­per-class Eng­land and the lower so­ci­etal class.

‘‘Dean cooks pan­cakes live on stage and the tim­ing of that has to be so ex­act, but it re­ally draws the au­di­ence in as they hear the siz­zle of the pan and can smell the burn­ing but­ter – it helps set the scene. The whole ex­pe­ri­ence [has] a cin­e­matic feel.’’

Schulz is a fa­mil­iar face with lo­cal au­di­ences thanks to act­ing roles in Proof, at Javeen­bah Theatre, and Key for Two, at Gold Coast Lit­tle Theatre. His di­rect­ing cred­its in­clude There’s a Bur­glar in My Bed (Javeen­bah) and Don’t be Afraid of the Dark (Tu­gun Theatre Com­pany).

‘‘I think com­mu­nity theatre is the best school you can go to to learn about act­ing, di­rect­ing and set de­sign be­cause it’s free and you have the best men­tors who are will­ing to give so much of their time for free. It’s re­ward­ing and some­what ad­dic­tive,’’ Schulz says.

Corpse opens at Gold Coast Lit­tle Theatre on Satur­day and plays Thurs­days to Satur­days at 8pm and Sun­days at 2pm un­til July 20.

– Pic­ture: RICHARD GOSLING

Dean Mayer and Ce­cile Camp­bell star in Gold Coast Lit­tle Theatre’s Corpse.

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