Canberra REP launched its 2017-18 Season on 21 October at Theatre 3, 3 Repertory Lane Acton, with the assistance of the cast from their next production of Noises Off. REP celebrates its 85th year with plays new to our repertoire and accomplished directors to guide us through these adventures of love, intense passion, intrigue, friendship, laughter and remembrance.
The season opens with a fast paced portrayal of theatrical-company life in the 1860s by Arthur Wing Pinero. Known for his literate, superbly constructed plays, with trademark precision and clockwork inevitability, Trelawny of the ‘WELLS’ is a fine example of his work. It tells the story of a popular star of melodrama plays at the Barridge Wells Theatre who attempts to give up the stage for love, but finds it harder than performing. Maybe convention is not the ideal. This Romantic Comedy will be directed by Tony Turner.
The second show of the Season is Arthur Miller’s very physical play of a longshoreman, betrayal, and immigration mixed with the style of Greek theatre and the problem of choosing to be American or not. A View from the Bridge remains startlingly relevant today in its themes and issues—revealing a world where navigating the expectations of family and community can be treacherous and the impacts of change can be hard to accept. Directing for the first time with REP is Chris Baldock, who has a considerable reputation in Melbourne for directing interesting and exciting plays.
Then we move into thrillers and intrigue with Patrick Barlow’s exciting, frenetic, and hilarious adaption of John Buchan’s book and Alfred Hitchcock’s film The 39 Steps. It has equal parts farce, clowning masterclass, and heart-stopping noir thriller. The plot hurtles a notorious fugitive and a spellbound blonde, from a London music hall north by northwest to Scotland’s most remote highlands. Will they save Britain from a den of devious spies? The challenge of this Comedy will be directed by Jarrad West, who recently directed Casanova for REP. It will be thrilling!
Fourth in the Season, is an Australian Comedy about hope, death, alienation, and budding friendship set in multiple locations, and yet mainly on a street in suburban Australia. Lally Katz’s Neighbourhood Watch is “enchantingly disarming, charming, and definitely warm-hearted”. An older widowed Hungarian émigré and a younger Australian woman are neighbours with more than physical walls between them, until they share their lives. Well-known REP actress and Canberra director, Kate Blackhurst will direct this Australian Drama.
Next, is an Australian Comedy that delves into the questions of what is Australia Day all about and what is Australia? Set in a Scout Hall (a familiar venue for REP actors) and a sports field, Australia Day by noted satirist and Wharf Revue creator Jonathan Biggins has “something to offend everyone”, while challenging the concept of Australian identity and exploring “the dedication and passion of the organising committees”. Cate Clelland returns to direct this quintessential Australian look at Australia.
Then to begin 2018, a timely presentation for the centenary of WW I— a satirical stage musical from 1963 devised by Joan Littlewood & Theatre Workshop. This Musical Drama still resonates today—a truly original portrait of the conflict that changed the shape of our world forever. Oh, What a Lovely War! Is an ironic critique of the reality of the war, drawing on the songs and the Pierrot entertainment of the WW I period. To realise this show on the REP stage is a director of diverse talents and a frequent performer with REP, Tim Sekuless.
That is our 2017–2018 Season, our 85th year! We look forward to seeing you!