There's just one week left to catch SHAKESPEARE'S QUEENS And THE MADNESS OF KING LEAR, the audacious Shakespeare adaptations from Australia at London's Arts Theatre. These two plays fascinated audiences at this year's Edinburgh Festival and are now together in London's West End as the two halves of Double Bill: SHAKESPEARE'S QUEENS and THE MADNESS OF KING LEAR.

Kath Perry is receiving rave reviews as Elizabeth I, and here we must point out an extraordinary similarity between the flaming haired Australian actress who delivers Shakespeare's monologues on being a woman in power, and Australia's flaming haired prime minister whose recent monologue on misogyny in politics was worthy of a Shakespearean tragedy! 

Following the London run, the shows will tour to Rome, Tokyo and New York.

The immediate legacy of the World Shakespeare Festival is upon us...audiences want more Shakespeare!

And it's not just London audiences - from the West End (Roger Rees in What You Will), Stratford (Kathryn Hunter in A Tender Thing) to Ambridge (in The Archers there's currently a 'play within a play' storyline as Ambridge's finest are set to star in a Shakespeare's best bits show) and the Schools Shakespeare Festival, everybody loves to experience Shakespeare re-invented.

The double bill of SHAKESPEARE'S QUEENS And THE MADNESS OF KING LEAR is running from 16 October – 3 November 2012. Showtimes are Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm; Saturday and Thursday matinees at 2.30pm at the Arts Theatre, Great Newport Street, London WC2H 7JB. Tickets are priced from £16.50 – £28.50, Previews £15. The Box Office reached at 020 7836 8463. Visit and for more information!

SHAKESPEARE'S QUEENS is by Kath Perry, Directed by Roz Riley, Performed by Rachel Ferris, Patrick Trumper and Kath Perry, Set design by Kasper Svenstrup Hansen, Costumes by Sarah Cogan, Sound design by George Cartledge, Lighting Design by Stephen Dean.

In SHAKESPEARE'S QUEENSthe three biggest celebs of the Tudor dynasty – Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots and Shakespeare – meet for the first time after they are all dead. Mary and Elizabeth are still arguing furiously over who ruled best and that unfortunate incident with the axe… Caught in the middle, Shakespeare must summon all the queens of his plays – from the She-wolf of France to the Serpent of the Nile – to help settle the dispute. It's a witty dash through nineteen queens from seventeen plays in sixty minutes, but contains a unique exploration of Shakespeare's older female characters.

SHAKESPEARE'S QUEENS by Kath Perry is the follow-up to her play SHAKESPEARE'S MOTHERS: MAD, BAD, AND DANGEROUS TO KNOW which toured internationally in 2010. SHAKESPEARE'S QUEENS is directed by Roz Riley (Artistic Director, Factory Space Sydney) and performed by Rachel Ferris (TV credits include Deadly Women, Home and Away), Patrick Trumper (TV credits include All Saints, Police Rescue and Farscape), Kath Perry (stage credits include Noah's Ark and An Ideal Husband in London and Iron and Dancing at Lughnasa in Sydney).

THE MADNESS OF KING LEAR is Directed by Sarah Fernandez Reyes, Performed by Leofric Kingsford-Smith and Lucas R. Tsolakian, Set and Costumes by Kasper Svenstrup Hansen, and Lighting Design by Stephen Dean.

THE MADNESS OF KING LEAR is a spiritual and explosive interpretation of Shakespeare's tragedy, fused with physical theatre. Lear and the Fool emerge from a spirit world and the play takes on a double narrative that explores both the events of Shakespeare's story and the continuing relationship between King and Fool.

This new adaptation takes inspiration from the traditional Elizabethan acting style of physical exaggeration. The events and emotions of Lear's life are given physical interpretation by the Fool – who clowns and dances through the famous speeches of the play. But it is Lear speaks for all the characters, with his own reflective interpretation of the words. The result is an explosion of emotion, comedy and tragedy – as the Fool provokes Lear's catharsis.

Both mad and playful, this is King Lear as you've never seen it before. Performed by Leofric Kingsford-Smith (STV's Underbelly, Crownies, Home and Away), Lucas R. Tsolakian (Avignon Le Off, The Performers Inc.) and Directed by Sara Fernandez Reyes (Hotel Medea, Edinburgh and Festival of the World).

Double Bill's two interpretations of the genius of Shakespeare are united by their theatricality and their strong themes – of thwarted ambitions, revenge and, perhaps most timely in the Jubilee year, succession. They also shine a contemporary light on Shakespeare's older characters.

This is Straylight Australia's fourth production, following Light Bites, Tasty Treats and Shakespeare's Mothers: Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know. Shakespeare's Queens premiered in Sydney and has toured to Adelaide Festival, Edinburgh Festival and Stratford-upon-Avon.

The company was formed by Actor/Manager Kath Perry to provide opportunities for Australian actors, writers, directors and other theatre practitioners to showcase their work at the Edinburgh Fringe and to wider audiences both overseas and in Australia. By presenting original work at a high professional standard to international audiences, the company also aims to increase awareness of Australia's strong and growing capability in developing and delivering excellent theatre.

Kath Perry (Playwright and Actor) Kath has been working in London for the past three years. Her theatre credits there include: Noah's Ark (Blue Elephant),The Days of the Commune (White Bear), Bombshells (Henley Fringe), A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Ernest (Greenwich Playhouse) and Estranged (The Courtyard). Previously, in Sydney she appeared in Mrs Klein, The Hollow, The Childres's Hour, When She
Danced, A Perfect Ganesh, Iron, Wildest Dreams and Cymbeline (Factory Space), Richard III, The Girl on the Sofa, The Man Who…, Life After George and Dancing at Lughnasa (New Theatre). Kath produced two shows for the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe – Light Bites and Tasty Treats, playing multiple roles in both and was awarded two four star reviews for them from The Scotsman. Her last production, Shakespeare's Mothers: Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know, was a success at both the Edinburgh (2010) and Adelaide (2011) Fringe Festivals. Kath also works in film and tv and is represented by Bronwen Gault Management in Australia and Julie Fox Associates in the UK.

Rachel Ferris (Actor) Rachel has been performing on stage since the age of three and has worked with Theatre In Education company 'Class Act' for the last 6 years taking shows into hundreds of high schools in NSW. Her theatre credits include: A Winter's Tale, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Fallen Angels, The Burlesque Effect, Heterodex, Black Rock, 12 Angry Men and Kindertransport. Also a highly skilled dancer, Rachel tapped her way through the Sydney Olympic Opening Ceremony and performed in the musical Cinderella at Melbourne Children's Theatre for 3 consecutive years. Rachel also appears from time to time as burlesque performer Lusty Towers. TV credits include the US series Deadly Women, Home and Away and Forensic
Investigators. Rachel is represented by Bronwen Gault Management.

Patrick Trumper (Actor) Patrick has been working as an actor for over twenty years. His numerous Shakespeare credits include the title role in Macbeth, Polonius in Hamlet, Orsino in Twelfth Night, Sir Andrew Aguecheek in another Twelfth Night, Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Kent in King Lear and Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors. He has also played Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Amadeus in Amadeus, Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest, and the Hippy Dad in the national tour of It's a Dad Thing. On television, Patrick has had guest roles in Darwin's Brave New World, All Saints, Wildside, Farscape, The Escape of the Artful Dodger and Police Rescue.

Stephen Dean (Lighting Design) Stephen has been active in theatre for many years and has skills in all of the backstage arts, especially those that use new technology. Lighting is his major interest and he has designed many shows for companies in South Australia, including recent work for Unseen and Accidental Productions with upcoming work for Galleon Theatre and the Adelaide University Theatre Guild. Stephen designs many of the shows appearing at the Bakehouse Theatre for the Adelaide Fringe. These have included two recent shows for Straylight Australia: 'Shakespeare's Mothers: Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know', in 2011 and 'Shakespeare's Queens: She-wolves and Serpents', in 2012. Stephen also writes a Technical Theatre Blog, 'Ramblings of a Techie', and articles for the trade magazine CX.


CW Productions

THE MADNESS OF KING LEAR premiered at the Adelaide Festival and has toured to Avignon Festival and Edinburgh Festival and is currently rehearsing in Barcelona. The show will tour to Japan, Rome and New York following the 2012 London West End season.

Sara Fernandez Reyes (Director) A performing artist from Bogotá, Colombia, where she studied a drama degree at the School of Teatro Libre, joining the professional company after graduating. Her main training has been in physical and laboratory theatre. She moved to London and joined Para Active Theatre for several years performing in the UK, and she is currently a member of the play Hotel Medea (Southbank Centre, London). She now lives in Barcelona, Spain, where she works as a director, leader of the physical training and performer for The Performers Inc. an educational children's theatre, as well a developing her own projects.

AnDrew Kingsford-Smith (Assistant Director & Dramaturg) Andrew Kingsford-Smith is a young theatre practitioner, well experienced and well travelled. Playwriting: Children of the Future – Bold Type Ink Showcase (2011 Belvoir Theatre, Sydney), Status.Update. – 24-hour Play-Offs (2011 Griffin Theatre, Sydney), Dr Eruliaf – Crash Test Drama (2010 New Town Theatre,  Sydney), Chips or Crisps – ATYP Fresh Ink Program (2010 ATYP, Sydney), Nola's Ark – Illawarra Young Writers/Directors Project (2010 IPAC, Sydney). Radio: Filthy Crimes – Sonic Tales (2012 Eastside Radio, Sydney).
Directing: Are They – Short and Sweet (2012 New Town Theatre, Sydney), 3D Theatre – Nothing to See Here (2011 University of Wollongong, Sydney), Flec – Nothing to See Here (2010, University of Wollongong, Sydney). Acting: Grins and Annie Band (2011 Roxbury Hotel, Sydney), Midsummer Night's Dream (2006 Abbotsleigh, Sydney), The Ring – Short Film (2005 Komaba High School, Tokyo). Reviewing: Fringebiscuit (2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Spitpress Magazine (2011 Sydney). Website:

Leofric Kingsford-Smith (Actor) CV reads like a roadmap to acting. Geographically it extends from London's West End and English repertory to the Sydney Opera House and a host of smaller Australian theatres. In almost four decades he has played everything from Shakespeare to Ayckbourn, Emlyn Williams and David Williamson in roles ranging from the tragic King Lear and Mark Antony to featured roles in many of Australia's hottest TV series; Underbelly II and Home and Away, Crownies, Deadly Women, Behind Mansion Walls, and Channel Seven's Sunday night programme. His one man show, Mission of Flowers toured to Adelaide, Los Angeles, London's West End and the Edinburgh Festival. In 2012 He will tour The Madness of King Lear to Edinburgh, Avignon and Tokyo. Recent credits include The Big Daddy role in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Star of the Sea Theatre in Manly). That he travels so smoothly in his acting career should not come as a surprise. Leof is the grand-nephew of one of Australia's most celebrated travellers, the pioneer aviator Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith.

Lucas R. Tsolakian (Actor) Lucas R. Tsolakian, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, began, at the age of 12, his acting studies at San Martín Centre. Four years later he entered the Musical Theatre School where his mentor was one of the pioneers of this type of theatre in Argentina. In addition to his official studies he took extra vocal training and singing classes. In 2004 and at the age of 23 he moved to Barcelona, Spain, where he set up his own educational theatre  company which currently performs in English for children and adolescents in throughout Spain and Southern France.

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