Snags on the ‘barbie and a lamington chaser to open this year’s performing season.
Welcome to the typical little Aussie country town of – unless you’re a member of the Australia Day committee, who couldn’t raffle a chook in a pub …
This January, grab a lamington and a stubbie, pop on your double pluggers and your Jackie Howe, remember the Aeroguard and settle in for a clever, caustic comedy that promises to put the sizzle in your ‘barbie … or should that be in your wok?
This new bang-up-to-the-moment barbecue-stopper of a comedy, Australia Day opens Queensland Theatre Company’s (QTC) Season 2014 and follows a mob of bumbling bureaucratic battlers as they debate the minute details of the national day and identity.
It’s set in a small and white typical Aussie town called Coriole, where life is laidback and carefree… but will Coriole’s Australia Day be a little ripper, or go off like a bucket of prawns in the sun?
Australia Day is the story of six quirky community leaders in a small country town charged with putting together the ultimate cultural celebration of what it means to be Australian. However the idea of consensus on the national identity is further away than the Southern Cross. Never mind wrangling the Nippers, the Lions and the CWA; these little Vegemites are at loggerheads just deciding the type of bread that’s appropriate to serve at an Aussie BBQ …. or should it be fried rice? Thrown in this laugh-out-loud Thermomix of politics and small town social culture is the fact the affable yet scheming Mayor Brian Harrigan (Bishop) has his eye off the ball, preoccupied by his own bid to win true blue pre-selection for the Liberal Party and his sledging sessions with the local Greens.
QTC Artistic Director Wesley Enoch says the rollicking satire, which stars a marquee lineup of talent led by Paul Bishop on stage and Andrea Moor in her Playhouse directorial debut, was one of five Australian productions in the Company’s 2014 season.
“Australia Day tackles the conundrum of the changing face of Australian society with the biting wit and wisdom of our own inimitable Jonathan Biggins. An Australian theatre institution, and the brains behind Sydney Theatre Company’s wickedly satirical institution the Wharf Revue, Biggins has his finger firmly on the pulse of Aussie culture.”
Well known and lauded Queenslander Paul Bishop leads the cast, and will be quite comfortable in the role of the Mayor – when he’s offstage, he is a Redlands City Councillor on Brisbane’s bayside. He’s joined by leading actors Chris Betts, Louise Brehmer, Barbara Lowing, Bryan Probets fresh from the acclaimed Design for Living and Lap Phan. Super talented theatre star Andrea Moor returns from directing the smash hit of the 2013 season, Venus in Fur and shining on stage in Design for Living, to direct this thought-provoking yet wickedly funny exploration of authenticity and idealism in the melting pot of modern Australia.
“There is a very real focus on Australian work in 2014 with 75 per cent of the season Australian plays, and for good reason – Australian stories and storytellers are amongst the very best in the world,” Mr Enoch says.
“We will see a tripling of works being commissioned, we have two productions in association with local groups and four co-productions – such an exciting time.
“Season 2014 is one that audiences will thoroughly enjoy – it is laced with humour, emotion, conflict, questions and adventure. It is also a season that nurtures our stars – we are very proud to present four works by female playwrights, and welcome two female directors, with Andrea Moor launching the season directing Australia Day, as well as celebrating a 45 per cent increase in the number of actors this season compared to last,” he says.
This January, will you be grabbing a lamington and a stubbie and attending the caustic comedy that promises to put the sizzle in your ‘barbie?