Na­dine Shines On Stage

“Di and Viv and Rose” again unites Na­dine Garner and the Melbourne Theatre Com­pany, writes Jenny Burns.

Where Melbourne - - Contents -

AS HAS BEEN the case on so many oc­ca­sions dur­ing Na­dine Garner’s cel­e­brated act­ing ca­reer, her lat­est role with the Melbourne Theatre Com­pany (MTC) came out of the blue.

But once she read English play­wright Amelia Bull­more’s touch­ing play “Di and Viv and Rose” she was hooked.

“I read the play and was im­me­di­ately drawn to how warm and funny it was,” Garner ex­plained.

De­scribed by crit­ics as “in­cred­i­bly touch­ing and mov­ing” and a “play that makes you want to give it a big hug,” “Di and Viv and Rose” ex­plores fe­male friend­ship and life­long al­liances.

From dif­fer­ent classes, from dif­fer­ent places, with dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ences and ex­pec­ta­tions, Di, Viv and Rose would never have crossed paths if they hadn’t shared a flat many years ago at univer­sity. It was the laughs and their trou­bles that bound them to­gether and sure, as time passes, their bond loosens, stretches and strains, but through­out all the tri­umphs, dis­as­ters and changes, it never breaks.

Garner plays Di, an out­go­ing life-lov­ing gay woman. Join­ing her are other in de­mand Aus­tralian ac­tresses Belinda Mc­clory who plays Viv, and Mandy Mcel­hin­ney as Rose.

“Di and Viv and Rose” is Garner’s 10th play with the MTC over a 30-year pe­riod.

“Thirty years ago I did an­other ex­tra­or­di­nary and fa­mous play called “A Day in The Death of Joe Egg” where I played a se­verely dis­abled child in a wheel chair,” Garner re­called.

“Bizarrely ex­actly 30 years later it’s an­other funny English play but I’m play­ing a high func­tion­ing, sporty woman of her time.

“I’ve rel­ished the op­por­tu­nity to be part of the MTC across three decades and feel hon­oured to get the chance to hone my craft along­side Aus­tralia’s finest prac­ti­tion­ers. Ev­ery day I feel blessed.”

Garner has long been re­garded as one of Aus­tralia’s top stage per­form­ers hav­ing worked with nu­mer­ous com­pa­nies in­clud­ing the Syd­ney Theatre Com­pany, IMG En­ter­tain­ment, Perth Theatre Com­pany, Theatre 20/20 and the State Theatre Com­pany of South Aus­tralia. She’s equally Photos: Jeff Busby. well known for her work on tele­vi­sion star­ring in nu­mer­ous hit se­ries over the years in­clud­ing most re­cently “The Doc­tor Blake Mys­ter­ies”. Her film cred­its in­clude “The Wed­ding Party”, “Raz­zle Daz­zle” and “The Book of Reve­la­tions”.

Apart from a five-year stint in Syd­ney and some time in Lon­don, most of her work­ing life has been spent in Melbourne.

“I love Melbourne as a city to bring chil­dren up in be­cause the ocean, the forests and the moun­tains are so close to the city,” she ex­plained.

Her favourite Melbourne ex­pe­ri­ences in­clude Gertrude Street on an au­tum­nal af­ter­noon, the Colling­wood Chil­dren’s Farm and The Fair­field Boat House.

“Get­ting out of Melbourne is im­por­tant too,” Garner added.

“I love the Great Ocean Road. My fa­ther lives in Port Fairy so es­cap­ing down there is also fan­tas­tic.”

Not sur­pris­ingly, given Garner’s long and suc­cess­ful as­so­ci­a­tion with Melbourne’s arts and the­atri­cal scene, she has seen a num­ber of changes over the years.

“I feel the arts are now re­ally front and cen­tre in Melbourne, al­most as im­por­tant as the AFL (Aus­tralian Rules foot­ball)!” she ex­claimed.

“As a city we are ur­bane, cul­tured, well­trav­elled, with a great sense of de­sign and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of fash­ion and aes­thetic val­ues.

“From our street art to our cafe so­ci­ety, Melbourne proves to be a city that just keeps im­prov­ing, deep­en­ing and broad­en­ing our hori­zons. I can’t think of a bet­ter place to be.”

“Di and Viv and Rose” is play­ing at the South­bank Theatre, the Sum­ner un­til 16 Septem­ber. For more in­for­ma­tion and tick­ets visit mtc.com.au or ring 8688 0800.

Mandy Mcel­hin­ney, Na­dine Garner and Belinda Mc­clory in “Di and Viv and Rose”.

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