The first show for families and children to open under Arts Centre Melbourne’s iconic Spire this year is Alan Brough’s Charlie and the War Against the Grannies – based on his side-splitting book. The acclaimed comedian, writer, actor and TV host presents his world-premiere musical comedy just in time for the Easter school holidays.
Set to make its world premiere in March last year, the show was cancelled when Arts Centre Melbourne made the gut-wrenching decision to temporarily close its venues.
One year later, Brough and his creative team are beyond excited to be bringing Charlie and the War Against the Grannies to life at Arts Centre Melbourne as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from 14 – 24 April. It will also tour to Sydney Opera House from 6 – 9 April 2021.
]“Last March when Charlie and the War Against the Grannies premiere season was shut down – many tears were shed and swears sworn,” says Brough. “However, due to the incredibly hard work, dedication and resilience of everyone involved Charlie is finally going to make it to the stage. Tears have again been shed but this time they’re tears of joy. (No swears so far).”
Charlie and the War Against the Grannies is the first large-scale work by local artists to be commissioned by Arts Centre Melbourne – creating new Australian theatre for young audiences. Arts Centre Melbourne has been working with Brough and his team of local artists since 2017 to ensure this well-loved book became the stage adaptation it deserved to be.
“The journey to create new work is always epic but no one could have imagined the resilience required by this ensemble to get through such a complex time as 2020,” says Mary Harvey, Creative Producer, Families and Children at Arts Centre Melbourne.
“It will be a real honour to welcome families, children and artists back into the building a year on from our COVID-19 closure, and what better way to do it than with a hilarious new Australian musical comedy that will have the whole family in fits of laughter!”
Writer and star Alan Brough (Spicks and Specks) has teamed up with musician/composer Kit Warhurst (Rocket Science) and director/co-writer Sarah Kriegler (Lemony S Puppet Theatre) to create a rampaging musical comedy for children featuring shadow puppetry, live music and some really stinky farts.
Charlie and the War Against the Grannies is the story of a constantly anxious 12-year-old boy named Charlie Duncan who only ever wanted a simple paper round. Instead, he uncovers a league of evil grannies plotting to set up a ‘Granny State’ where everyone will be forced to wear brown cardigans, go to bed early and where children would not exist!
The stakes are high and it’s up to Charlie and his adventurous best friend Hils to go to war with the fiendish grannies to stop them from taking over the world.
Alan Brough is a man of many talents – including new acclaim as a children’s author. From an early age, Brough wanted to be a writer and then an actor. He worked on Kath & Kim and in films including The Craic, The Nugget and Bad Eggs, but he is best known for his role as a team captain on ABC TV’s Spicks and Specks.
In his words “there wasn’t much (acting) work for a 6 foot 4 inch guy with a slightly lopsided face and thick curly hair.” So he tried broadcasting, dancing, singing and being a professional music nerd. Recently, he got around to the writing part, creating Charlie and the War Against the Grannies and Charlie and the Karaoke Cockroaches.
Charlie and the War Against the Grannies, his debut book, was shortlisted for the ABIA Book of the Year for Younger Children (2017) and the Australian Book Design Awards (2017), and was longlisted for the Indie Book Awards (2017).
This production will be presented as part of Arts Centre Melbourne’s year-round Families and Children Program. Launched in August 2009, it has grown in reputation to become a highly respected program nationally and internationally. Featuring intimate and large-scale theatre from some of the world’s most esteemed companies and a diverse range of interactive workshops, the program is robust and growing in size, scale and scope.
Director & Writer: Sarah Kriegler Actor, Writer & Composer: Alan Brough Actors: Anna Francesca Armenia and Julia Davis Composer & Musician: Kit Warhurst Set & Costume Designer: Adrienne Chisholm Lighting Designer: Rachel Burke Photography: Jason Lau
Charlie and the War Against the Grannies
Playhouse – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 14 – 24 April 2021
Information and Bookings: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au (on sale Tuesday 9 February)
Playhouse – Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney
Season: 6 – 9 April 2021
Information and Bookings: www.sydneyoperahouse.com (on sale Friday 5 February)
Image: Charlie and the War Against the Grannies – photo by Jason Lau