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