International drag sensation Courtney Act will make her Sydney Theatre Company debut alongside a spectacular cast of Australian comedy legends in STC’s upcoming production of Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit at the Sydney Opera House from 21 March 2022.
STC Associate Director Paige Rattray is at the helm following the critical success of her recent productions Death of a Salesman and Triple X. Rattray’s production of Blithe Spirit promises to take Coward’s camp sensibilities to a whole new level in a contemporary take on this witty, hilarious classic.
Rattray has assembled a stellar cast to bring her vision to life, including stage and screen star Matt Day (The Deep Blue Sea), Nancy Denis in her STC debut, Bessie Holland (Cosi), Tracy Mann (Home, I’m Darling), Megan Wilding (Blackie Blackie Brown) and Brigid Zengeni (Death of a Salesman) alongside Courtney Act.
While staying true to Coward’s signature wit and its setting in the English countryside, Rattray said her production of Blithe Spirit was inspired by the “Met Gala crossed with Keeping Up With The Kardashians, a healthy dose of Will & Grace and big sprinkle of RuPaul’s Drag Race,” she said.
“We’re giving this play a facelift complete with botox and fillers,” said Rattray. “Originally written and staged in the 40s, our production is set in the present day to resonate with a contemporary audience but we haven’t lost any of the Coward flair, all of that fabulousness is still there.”
Courtney Act said, after years of performing on stages and television screens the world over, it was about time she did a play and couldn’t think of a better fit than STC’s Blithe Spirit.
“My acting career has peaked at its debut – I’m on a slippery slope to community theatre after this. This play, cast and creative team are anything but blithe, audiences are in for a riotous and side-clenching night at the Sydney Opera House,” said Courtney.
Matt Day said he was “extremely excited to be working with Paige and this amazing cast, bringing this comedic gem to life and conjuring up as many laughs as humanly possible.”
Day plays Charles Condomine, a novelist who’s recently married his second wife Ruth after the tragic death of his first, Elvira (played by Act). In the hopes of gathering some material for his new book, Charles invites eccentric medium Madame Arcati (Zengeni) to his house. The couple and their droll friends expect a lark, and perhaps a few cheap scares.
But the ritual goes mysteriously awry and Charles ends up with much more than he bargained for. Ghostly, glamorous and more than a little mischievous, Elvira returns from the world beyond the veil, ready to wreak havoc on the ‘happily’ married couple.
Director: Paige Rattray | Featuring: Courtney Act, Matt Day, Nancy Denis, Bessie Holland, Tracy Mann, Megan Wilding, Brigid Zengeni | Designer: David Fleischer | Lighting Designer: Damien Cooper | Composer & Sound Designer: Clemence Williams | Assistant Director: Tait de Lorenzo
Drama Theatre – Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney
Season: 21 March – 14 May 2022
Information and Bookings: www.sydneytheatre.com.au
Image: Bessie Holland, Courtney Act, Brigid Zengeni and Matt Day in STC’s Blithe Spirit – photo by Rene Vaile