Malthouse Theatre Bliss Toby Truslove - photo by Zan WimberleyA twisted family saga full of sex, drugs, suicide and religion, Malthouse Theatre presents the world premiere of Tom Wright’s theatrical adaptation of Peter Carey’s award-winning novel Bliss in the Merlyn Theatre from 9 May, before heading to Belvoir Theatre from 13 June 2018.

For Harry Joy, dying was the first in a series of twisted inconveniences. For 38 years, the advertising executive has been the quintessential good guy. But one morning Harry has a heart attack on his suburban front lawn, and, for the space of nine minutes, he becomes a dead guy.

On his resuscitation, the successful ad executive awakens to a perverse vision of Australia and concludes this must be Hell.  The products he advertises cause cancer. His son and his daughter are doing drugs and sleeping together. His wife is cheating on him with a business partner. To escape this literal Hell, Harry sets himself on an uncertain course: living a moral life.

In a stellar collaboration from the team behind Picnic at Hanging Rock, Matthew Lutton directs Tom Wright’s adaptation of Peter Carey’s hallucinatory ride from suburbia to the asylum, a seedy hotel room and to the back of beyond, that features Marco Chiappi, Will McDonald, Amber McMahon, Charlotte Nicdao, Susan Prior, Anna Samson, Mark Coles Smith and Toby Truslove as Harry.

Peter Carey is one of only two novelists to have been awarded the Booker Prize twice: first for Oscar and Lucinda (1988), and then for True History of the Kelly Gang (2000) – which sold two million copies worldwide. In 1981 he was awarded the Miles Franklin Award for Bliss. In addition, the film adaptation of Bliss won three Australian Film Institute Awards in 1985, and a NSW Premier’s Literary Award in 1986 for the screenplay.

Director: Matthew Lutton Featuring: Marco Chiappi, Will McDonald, Amber McMahon, Charlotte Nicdao, Susan Prior, Anna Samson, Mark Coles Smith, Toby Truslove Lighting Design: Paul Jackson Set & Costume Design: Marg Horwell Composition & Sound Design: Stefan Gregory Adaptation: Tom Wright Stage Manager: Kirsten Marr Assistant Stage Manager: Lauren Frahamer

Merlyn Theatre – The Coopers Malthouse, 113 Sturt Street, Southbank
Season: 9 May – 2 June 2018 (previews: 4 – 8 May)
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Upstairs Theatre – Belvoir Theatre, 25 Belvoir Street, Surry Hills
Season: 13 June – 15 July 2018 (previews: 9 – 12 June)
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Image: Toby Truslove stars in Bliss – photo by Zan Wimberley