Imagine a world in which the air we breathe is just another commodity like food and fuel. Something that can be bought and sold according to market forces. How much do you think you’d have to breathe?
This was the darkly comic premise on which Ben Elton based his first play, the hilarious and critically acclaimed satirical comedy Gasping. First performed in London in 1990, starring Hugh Laurie; it has been revisited by Elton and reimagined for a new century and a new country.
This major rewrite Gasp! relocates the story to an Australia grown giddy on the resources boom. Corporate powerhouse Lockheart Industries is already making a mint, but too much money is never enough. Their genius plan to privatise the air we breathe, with the ‘Suck and Blow’ filtering machine is an instant hit and sales soar. But it splits the planet into the haves and the have-nots – and if you can’t pay, you don’t breathe.
Infused with the sarcastic, sharp wit that made Elton a household name, the play is a breathtaking, biting, brilliantly funny satire on the heartlessness of big business and the ruthlessness of the advertising industry. And it’s as relevant and hil‘air’ious as ever.
Ben Elton has written fourteen bestselling books including Popcorn and Inconceivable, some of TV’s most popular comedy series (Blackadder, The Young Ones) as well as West End plays and the hit musical We Will Rock You.
Director: Wesley Enoch Cast: Caroline Brazier, Lucy Goleby, Damon Lockwood, Greg McNeill, Steven Rooke Set & Costume Designer: Christina Smith Lighting Designer: Trent Suidgeest Sound Designer: Tony Brumpton Projection Designers: optikal bloc Design Associate: Penny Challen Directorial Associate: Daniel Evans
Heath Ledger Theatre – State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, 174 William Street, Perth
Season: 25 October – 9 November 2014
Information and bookings, visit: www.bsstc.com.au for details.
Playhouse – Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Southbank (Brisbane)
Season: 17 November – 7 December 2014
Information and bookings: www.queenslandtheatre.com.au
Image: by Rob Frith