Melville Theatre Company to Present SPIKE HEELS, 12-27 September

A PLAY from an award-winning NYPD Blue writer comes to the Melville Theatre this August, evoking the themes of Pygmalion and My Fair Lady with a more intense approach for 2014.

Written by Theresa Rebeck and directed by Trevor Dhu, Spike Heels is a contemporary comedy of manners set in Boston that explores sexual harassment, misplaced amour and the possibility of a four-sided love triangle.

The play features a sexy, volatile young woman and her involvement with a university professor, lawyer and uppercrust rich girl in a battle of what the heart wants against physical attraction.

Rebeck has won the Writers Guild of America Award, Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award and Peabody Award for her work on the television show NYPD Blue, along with numerous theatre awards.

"Spike Heels is similar to Pygmalion and My Fair Lady in that it looks at an uneducated, disadvantaged woman who can learn and gain from a beneficiary male," Dhu said.

"If you make that theme more current, the sexual attraction is much more exposed and fades to respect, want and love from man to woman.

"While the women battle for sexual supremacy, inspired by female liberty to have sex when inclined, the men battle those urges to gain a true relationship rather than a one-off."

One of the main challenges for Dhu is the strong language and sexual references in the show, initiated by the female characters.

"But these are typical of Generation Y, so it's an accurate portrayal of how things really are - yet not seen by the baby boomer generation," he said.

Involved in the performing arts for as long as he can remember, Dhu has worked with Patch and Playhouse Theatres, Perth City Ballet and did extensive professional work with the Australian Dance Theatre in the eastern states.

More recently, he has directed, choreographed and acted in various productions at the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre - most notably West Side Story - and also performed at Harbour, Roleystone and Melville Theatres.

Dhu was inspired to direct Spike Heels after a friend studying theatre and film in Los Angeles shared the play with him.

"Her theatre coach gave her the play because it reflected her past and was perfect for developing her performance potential," he said. "Looking at the story of my friend's life, there was a lot of similarity to this play.

"She learnt in her life journey to gain knowledge that makes her a financially secure, single mother who continues to learn.

"Spike Heels is a difficult play but I like the emotional swings and how the male psyche tries to hold onto ethics, which is an element that bubbles along under the plot."

Spike Heels plays at 8pm, September 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27 with a 2pm matinee September 21. Tickets are $20, $15 concession - book on 9330 4565 or at www.meltheco.org.au.

Photo by Guido Nigro

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