BY CLARE BOOTHE LUCE
11 AUGUST – 12 SEPTEMBER 2015
“There’s only one tragedy for a woman. Losing her man!”
Written in 1936, this comedy about marital infidelity and revenge is still funny and relevant today.
The ruthless world of Manhattan socialites and social climbers, their pampered lives, power struggles, friendships and rivalries, and the gossip that both feeds and damages their relationships are exposed with sharp wit and remorseless honesty.
Though now regarded as a camp classic, beneath the wise-cracking, the backstabbing and the melodrama is an insightful and sympathetic study of human nature at its best and worst.
Mrs Mary Haines seemingly has it all: a happy marriage to wealthy stockbrocker Stephen, two perfect children, a smart Manhattan home and a coterie of entertaining girlfriends with days made up of bridge parties and visits to the beauty salon.
When Stephen’s affair with ‘shop girl’ Chrystal Allen is exposed, Mary’s life falls apart and before long, on the urging of her friends, she’s off to Reno for a quickie divorce.
But Mary finds a strength she didn’t know she had and determines to fight and win her man back.
Boothe Luce’s play was remarkable for its all-female cast and ‘insider’s look’ at a world unknown to those outside its privileged walls. Eves-dropping in beauty salons, boutiques and the powder-rooms of fashionable restaurants, she picked up the essence of Park Avenue life and crafted a series of memorable characters, both flawed and funny. Though the men in their lives are an ever-present driver for the events of the play, they are never seen. It is the ‘ladies who lunch’ who form the nucleus of this world.
Marriage as a means of social advancement for women, the role of children in relationships, and controversial topics for the times such as bisexuality, adultery and divorce are all explored with sharp wit and remorseless honesty.
Most people will be familiar with George Cukor’s superb screen adaptation, starring some of Hollywood’s greatest stars: Norma Shearer, Rosalind Russell, Joan Crawford, Paulette Goddard and Joan Fontaine. Now New Theatre gives audiences the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the brilliant play that started it all, a classic 1930s comedy of manners.
“A glorious cat-clawing rampage” The New York Times
Director Deborah Jones
Set Designer John Cervenka
Production Manager Martin Kelly
Stage Manager Petra Vaculik
Set Constrution Tom Bannerman
Sound Operator Jesse Ledesma
Heidi Baleisis, Melissa Burgess , Kailey Higgins, Jordan Keyes-Liley, Celia Kelly, Susan M Kennedy, Jess Loudon, Emma Louise, Joy Miller, Nell Nakkan, Lauren Orrell, Alexandra Plim, Jade Potts, Eleanor Ryan, Annie Schofield, Helen Stuart , Vola Vandere, Sandy Velini
Previews Tue 11 Aug & Wed 12 Aug 7:30pm
Thu – Sat 7:30pm, Sun 5pm
Final performance, Sat 12 Sep 5pm
Run Time: 2hrs and 30mins with interval
Full $32 | Concession $27 | Groups (10+) $27 | Members $22 | Previews $17 | Student Rush $17 | Thrifty Thursdays $17
“Full of heart … Engages our emotions and captures all our senses … Highly recommended” Suzy Goes See
“An Australian work of wide and enduring appeal” Theatre People
“FOUR STARS! A wonderfully evocative revival of this rarely seen Australian musical” Arts Hub
“New Theatre is fortunate indeed to have access to a singing/dancing/acting talent pool and when it all comes together, as it has in this show, the results are close to sublime” Oz Baby Boomers
“Summer Rain never ceases to delight and engage me, and an excellent ensemble cast, capably directed by Trent Kidd, has ensured a fourth marvellous theatrical journey for me … Get along to see this very special Australian musical” Stage Whispers
“The performances are extraordinary. This cast is all class … Trent Kidd’s direction is wonderful, his choreography is delightful … Tim Cunniffe’s band is marvellous and the singing gorgeous … Set and costume design by Joshua Mason Browne is magnificent and intriguingly versatile … [Nick Enright and Terence Clarke’s play] is a deeply humane gift, a tale of wonder and of reconciliation” Theatre Red
“FOUR STARS! If you’re a fan of either musicals or Australian theatre, I highly recommend checking out this show. It’s another brilliant production in what has proven to be an amazing season for New Theatre” The Buzz From Sydney
“Directed and choreographed by Trent Kidd, it boasts fine ensemble work from a terrifically talented cast, a crack band under the musical directorship of Tim Cunniffe, and a gun production design by Mason Browne” Australian Stage
“I had a very good time and I can recommend it very easily” Kevin Jackson
Photos © Bob Seary
Main image © Richard Hedger