New Theatre Ends Its Year With BROADWAY BOUND
The theatre world lost one of its greatest writers with the passing of Neil Simon in August, so New Theatre's programming of Broadway Bound to round off 2019 holds a certain piquancy. It's an opportunity for Sydney theatre lovers to reacquaint themselves with his comic genius.
The final play in Neil Simon's quasi-autobiographical trilogy (preceded by Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues), Broadway Bound continues the story of young Eugene Jerome, an aspiring comedy writer with dreams of a career in radio.
It's 1949 and Eugene and his brother-cum-writing partner are stuck in the wilds of Brooklyn, with their increasingly remote father, disillusioned mother, and unreconstructed socialist grandfather. Meanwhile, their mother's sister, who has 'married well' and now lives the good live on Park Avenue - a betrayal of her working-class roots in the eyes of her father - is attempting to reconcile her and Kate's parents.
Life in this hard-scrabble, working-class Jewish household is an incessant round of baiting and bickering. But when the boys use their family as fodder for their comedy scripts, they learn early lessons in compassion and artistic integrity.
Simon's reverie is bittersweet and nostalgic, but never sentimental. He chart's Eugene's coming-of-age and the family dynamics with truth, humanity and great humour.
Director Rosane McNamara is a huge fan of Neil Simon's work. "I love the plays of Neil Simon for their humour and heart. Having spent a lot of time in Brooklyn New York, I'm used to, and love, the Jewish humour typified in Simon's work. It's an ironic take on the world, forged from hardship displacement and persecution.
"This typically American humour was fashioned by a Jewish immigrant community in the vaudeville halls of early 20th century New York and it has flourished ever since on radio, movies and television and in stand-up cabarets.
"I'm hoping that audiences will both revel in the deliciousness of this quintessential American style of humour and will also feel for these characters, dealing with issues both as a family and as a community."
The cast includes Les Asmussen (Australia Day), Brett Heath (August: Osage County), Patrick Holman (The Lieutenant of Inishmore), Suzann James making her New Theatre debut, and Susan Jordan and Simon Lee from Nell Gwynn, with set design by Allan Walpole (Privates on Parade), lighting design by Mehran Mortezaei (Queer Fringe @ The New), costume design by David Marshall-Martin (The Women) and sound design by David Cashman (August: Osage County).
Cast: Les Asmussen, Brett Heath, Patrick Holman, Suzann James, Susan Jordan, Simon Lee
Director Rosane McNamara
Set Designer Allan Walpole
Lighting Designer Mehran Mortezaei
Costume Designer David Marshall-Martin
Sound Designer David Cashman
Assistant Director Martin Kelly
Production Manager Louise Fischer
Stage Manager Jo Jewitt
Operator Ricci Costa
SEASON: 13 November - 15 December
TICKETS: $35 full, $30 concessions & groups (6+), $20 previews & Thrifty Thursdays