Shows: Corpse takes sibling rivalry to the extreme...........
Sibling rivalry is taken to the extreme in Corpse, writes Jessica Huxley
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.
Dean Mayer and Cecile Campbell star in Gold Coast Little Theatre’s Corpse.