STAGES ARE SET FOR HITS
Theatregoers can enjoy powerful local play Night, Mother and look forward to upcoming smashes Home Ground and The Bodyguard
This week’s column comes to you from Far North Queensland where Yours Truly and HRH (Happily Retired Husband) are on a cruise, recovering from a major house move. We’re also catching up on what modern cruiseliners put together as passenger entertainment – more on that in another column. Javeenbah Theatre’s production of Marsha Norman’s Night, Mother opened last Saturday night – it is compelling, intelligent and, for a story about impending suicide, surprisingly witty. It’s a “normal” Saturday evening in the Cates’ home where mother and daughter, Thelma and Jessie, live out a rather mundane, humdrum existence. As the play starts, Mama (played powerfully by Del Halpin) is cataloguing the stocks of sweets that need replenishing. She seems happy enough, but her repetitive world is about to be painfully shattered. For her daughter Jessie (Amy McDonald) has made a monumental decision – she’s going to kill herself. As she casually asks the whereabouts of her father’s revolver, there’s a sense of disquiet about what might be about to happen, but it’s not until Jessie makes her intentions explicit – only a few minutes into the play – that the alarm bells ring. It’s hard not to laugh during this play because there’s a rich vein of humour running right the way through it. But it’s the kind of humour where you laugh and then immediately feel guilty as you remember the seriousness of the situation. Both Amy McDonald and Del Halpin produce exceptionally moving and convincing performances. McDonald gives us a quiet, humourless and efficient dignity as Jessie the “runt” (her father’s description of her shortly after she was born). On the other hand, Halpin’s Mama has a terrier-like tenacity to her character intent on maintaining the status quo and perpetuating her own existence as long as she can. The whole thing is woven together with subtle and sensitive direction from Barry Gibson. This powerful play runs until February 11. Call 5596 0300 to book. Remember the good old days when Pacman ruled, shoulder pads were essential, your fluorescent socks matched your earrings and you watched Karate Kid and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Well those happy days are back at Gold Coast Little Theatre. Back to the Eighties opens on Saturday and if you feel inclined you can dress in theme to enjoy the decade’s soundtrack, including Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, Love Shack, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Let’s Hear it for the Boy, Total Eclipse of the Heart and Walking on Sunshine. Book on 5532 2096. Auditions coming up include those on February 5 at GCLT for Crown Matrimonial, the story of the Abdication of Edward VIII through the eyes of his mother, Queen Mary. Roles as the king, queen, Prince of Wales and Duchess of York are open, Another audition is Tweed Theatre’s Broadway Blockbusters in Concert on February 12. Here comes the musical Queensland has waited so long for – and introducing the Queensland anthem: We Bleed Maroon. Home Ground: The State of Origin Musical will have its world premiere in Brisbane, starring a cast of 20 telling the story of Australia’s greatest sporting rivalry. Conceived by nationally acclaimed journalist, author and Queensland icon Hugh Lunn, it is a celebration of what it is to be a Queenslander. Selfrespect, state pride, comradeship, tenacity and victory against the odds are well-known ingredients in the story of Queensland’s fourdecade dominance of the annual rugby league series against New South Wales. But it wasn’t always so. What has been forgotten is that every year, for 21 long years, Queensland lost – because the Blues were stacked with Queensland’s best players. It has taken a collaboration of Hugh and theatrical polymath John Senczuk to bring to the stage the story of the men and women behind State of Origin and how it transformed the state from the butt of jokes into a position of respect. The show will open on June 23 at Edmund Rice Performing Arts Centre at South Brisbane. The cast is led by legendary star of stage and screen Peter Cousens, famed for performing the lead in arguably the world’s most famous musical in Phantom of the Opera in London’s West End. Peter will play Kevin Humphries (The Enemy) and joining him is an extraordinary all-Queensland cast of both experienced and debut artists. Kip Gamblin has been announced as The Bodyguard, playing opposite Paulini in the forthcoming musical of the same name. Kip is most known to Australian audiences for his roles in TV dramas Home and Away, All Saints, Tricky Business, Dance Academy and most recently Neighbours. The show begins its 2017 Australian tour at the Sydney Lyric Theatre on April 21, before playing at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane from July 19 and the Regent Theatre, Melbourne from August. Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard Frank Farmer is hired to protect superstar singer Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge – what they don’t expect is to fall in love. Book at qpac.com.au
Look out for Kip Gamblin, Paulini and Prinnie Stevens in the upcoming season of The Bodyguard.