Erik Thomson Joins Cast of MTC's THE SPEECHMAKER

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Erik Thomson Joins Cast of MTC's THE SPEECHMAKER

The pre-flight anticipation for the playwriting debut of Australia's comic royalty, Working Dog's Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner and Rob Sitch, stepped up today with the announcement that Packed to the Rafters' Erik Thomson will play the role of the President of the United States when The Speechmaker opens at Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse on Thursday 5 June.

The arrival of the President means that the cast is now all aboard Air Force One, with Erik Thomson joining Lachy Hulme (The Power Games), Kat Stewart (Offspring), Jane Harber (Offspring), Nicholas Bell (MTC's Madagascar), Sheridan Harbridge (MTC's The Beast), Brent Hill (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), David James (The Hollowmen), Christopher Kirby (Predestination), and Toby Truslove (MTC's The Cherry Orchard).

Directed by MTC Associate Artistic Director Sam Strong, The Speechmaker is a fast-paced and very funny political comedy about power and those who wield it.

'The Speechmaker is everything you would expect from the Working Dog team: razor-sharp, intelligent, beautifully observed, and very funny. Only this time these local comic legends have trained their satiric guns on a very big international target: a fictional American Presidential administration. This is a play that will take audiences on an entertaining ride at the same time as asking big questions about politics and the responsibilities of our leaders. I can't wait to transform the theatre into Air Force One and to take off with an ensemble of some of Australia's finest actors,' said Sam Strong.

'We are thrilled that such talented and well-loved actors have somehow found time in their busy schedules to bring our play to life,' said the Working Dog's Tom Gleisner. 'Having Erik Thomson head up this wonderful ensemble cast, that includes Kat Stewart, Jane Harber and - making his MTC debut - Lachy Hulme is extremely exciting.'

The play begins with the President of the United States flying to London for a surprise Christmas meeting with the British PM. It'll be a diplomatic coup, not to mention one hell of a media opportunity - a no-risk vote winner for the price of a little jet fuel, and the chance for the Leader of the Free World to give the speech of a lifetime. But barely have the seatbelt signs turned off before a major international crisis unfurls below. Suddenly it's Code Red and all hell breaks loose. As all the President's men and women rally to save their leader, the Free World, and their jobs, some uncomfortable decisions must be made.

Responsible for many of Australia's much loved films and TV shows such as The Castle, Frontline, The Hollowmen and the forthcoming Utopia, Working Dog is one of the country's most innovative comedy production companies. Established in 1993, Working Dog was formed by five friends who wanted to make comedy together. Their work includes The Dish, Any Questions For Ben? Thank God You're Here, Audrey's Kitchen, Pictures of You, All Aussie Adventures, Santo Sam and Ed's Cup Fever and The Panel.

MTC Associate Artistic Director Sam Strong most recently directed a sold-out season of Private Lives for the MTC and won the 2013 Sydney Theatre Award for Best Direction of a Mainstage Production for The Floating World at Griffin. His other directing credits include The Crucible, Other Desert Cities and Madagascar (Melbourne Theatre Company); Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Sydney Theatre Company); The Boys (Sydney Festival/Griffin); Between Two Waves, And No More Shall We Part and Speaking in Tongues (Griffin); The Power of Yes (Company B Belvoir); Red Sky Morning and Faces in the Crowd (Red Stitch); and Thom Pain (based on nothing) (B Sharp).

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