Expect the unexpected in a show that delivers what the Royal Family isn’t known for: gags, show tunes and dancing, as Gerry Connolly returns to the Sydney stage in the premiere of The Rise and Disguise of Elizabeth R at the Hayes Theatre Co from 13 February 2020.
Gerry Connolly is a familiar and much-loved face in Australia. A versatile actor, comic and musician, we have watched him in classic television shows Fast Forward and Joh’s Jury and on stage in Urinetown, Anything Goes and Nick Enright’s Summer Rain, in opera, with symphony orchestras and the regal opening of an envelope.
Perhaps his most enduring performance has been his inhabitation of Queen Elizabeth II. His loving (and uncanny) representation of her, full of dry wit and surprising ingenuity, has become an Australian icon.
This turn began life at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in revue, and along with his rendition of Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen quickly became the basis of stage shows such as Men and Women of Australia, I CONnolly, Gerrymander Joh and the Last Crusade, Different Things and Pianomaniac.
After playing Her Majesty for four decades, this brand-new story sees Gerry and his alter-ego, the QE2, coming to terms with their life choices and what still lies in store for them during Her Maj’s twilight years. Supporting the leading lady is a brilliant ensemble comprising of comedic triple threats including Rob Mallett (Singin’ in the Rain) and Laura Murphy (Muriel’s Wedding).
The Rise and Disguise of Elizabeth R also features many of Gerry’s other brilliant alter-egos including the Queen’s son Prince Charles, the Iron Lady Baroness Thatcher, her Australian PMs to other famous home-grown personalities. As the Queen nears the end of her reign, this show explores her history, her hidden personality, and the weird sense of intimacy that has developed for Gerry over decades of walking in the shoes of The Monarch.
Directed by Hayes favourite Shaun Rennie (Only Heaven Knows, The View UpStairs) with an original score and musical direction by Max Lambert (Darlinghurst Nights), Gerry will push boundaries, as always, in this outing, full of pathos, humour and heart.
“Gerry’s QE2 is an Australian icon and we’re thrilled to bring this hilarious new show to Sydney’s home of musical theatre,” said Gus Murray of Sugary Rum Productions. “This is a top-notch team of theatre-makers bringing to life a show that will constantly keep you guessing.”
Director: Shaun Rennie Featuring: Gerry Connolly, Rob Mallett, Laura Murphy Musical Director: Max Lambert Choreographer: Leah Howard Production Designer: Jeremy Allen Lighting Designer: Trent Suidgeest Sound & AV Designer: Dave Bergman Stage Managers: Daniel Cottier, Adrienne Patterson Writers: Gerry Connolly, Nick Coyle, Gus Murray Producer: Gus Murray (Sugary Rum Productions)
The Rise and Disguise of Elizabeth R
Hayes Theatre Co, 19 Greenknowe Avenue, Potts Point
Season: 13 February – 1 March 2020
Information and Bookings: www.hayestheatre.com.au
Image: The Rise and Disguise of Elizabeth R (supplied)