WITH hardly a backward glance, the Canberra Theatre has put a year of earnest experimentation behind it and gone for a 2014 “Collected Works” season of out-and out-theatre classics and fun.
In a program hosted by that Grand Dame of musicals, Nancye Hayes, the Canberra Theatre was packed this evening with supporters, media and would-be subscribers.
First up is a theatrical coup for director Bruce Carmichael and his programming manager Gill Hugonnet in the form of the new production, backed by Mousetrap Productions Ltd London, of “A Murder is announced”. Judi Farr plays Miss Marple and Carmen Duncan makes a rare stage appearance.
More serious fare follows from Sydney Theatre Company and the ADF with “A Long Way Home”, a new play by Daniel Keene dramatising experiences in Afghanistan and East Timor and mixing professional actors and military personnel.
Blink and you’ll see British actor Patricia Routledge (“Hyacinth Bucket”) playing pianist Dame Myra Hess in “Admission One Shilling” with Piers Lane at the keyboard.
Remember Katharine Hepburn as Tracy in “The Philadelphia Story” and Grace Kelly in “High Society”? This staging of the classic has a twist, with provocative director Simon casting Zahra Newman against racial type in the lead role – she’s the girl who once told “CityNews” she was the “go-to girl” for black roles on stage.There’ll be more political spin than you can poke a stick at in Damien Ryan’s sequel to last year’s “Henry 4” for Bell Shakespeare, “Henry V”. Those with long enough memories were recalling that this was the play that, staged in a tent at Rushcutters’s Bay in the 1960s, made John Bell a star. Later in the year, Bell will be back with Peter Evans’ “The Dream”.
If Shakespeare is not your thing – though Bell assures us Canberrans LOVE the Bard – there’s comic relief in NZ’s first Pacific musical, “The Factory”, a romantic, comic romp through the life of Samoan migrants with an original score and a live band.
Missing a bit of Mozart? That latecomer to OzOpera, playwright-director Michael Gow, plans to reprise his success with “Don Giovanni” with an Indiana Jones-style version of “The Magic Flute”, set among the tombs of the Pharaohs, as you’d expect.
The Wharf Revue marks its 15 years of satire with the latest in politician satire from Jonathan Biggins, Drew Forsyth, Phi Scott and Amanda Bishop.
Canberra Theatre tantalises its dance patrons with Sydney Dance Company’s triple bill, “Interplay” a Sydney indigenous narrative dance story from Bangarra’s Stephen Page in “Patyegarang”, a splash of daring physical theatre from Yaron Lifschitz and The Circa Ensemble in “S” and the WA ballet in the popular classic “La File Mal Gardee”.
Did I mention that word “classic” again?Well, yes, as Hayes was able to confirm, she’ll be thundering around the stage next year as Lady Bracknell in “The Importance of Being Earnest”, and you can’t get much more classic than that.
The theatre is offering lots of tidbits to subscribers, including opening-night parties, ticket insurance, and free “Take Part” forums.
Programs and subscription details now available at the theatre on online at canberratheatrecentre.com.au