Written and illustrated by UK artist Kit Williams, the iconic children’s book Masquerade has been lovingly crafted into a play by award-winning playwright and actor, Kate Mulvany at the Southbank Theatre from 22 October as part of the 2015 Melbourne Festival.
In a wondrous world of riddles and hidden treasure, bumbling Jack Hare is on a race against time to deliver a message of love from the Moon to the Sun. Far, far away in a world just like ours, a mother cheers her ill son Joe with the tale of Jack Hare’s adventure. But when Jack’s mission goes topsy-turvy, Joe and his mum must come to the rescue, and the line between the two worlds becomes blurred forever.
Bound to enchant audiences of all ages, Masquerade stars a talking fish, a tone-deaf barbershop quartet, a gassy pig, a precious jewel and a few mere mortals. It’s a magical adventure that is, at its heart, about the love between a parent and a child.
This delightful family show from Sydney’s award-winning Griffin Theatre Company and State Theatre Company of South Australia is based on Australian playwright Kate Mulvany’s childhood experience of overcoming cancer — when she found solace and inspiration in Williams’ work and became captivated by its magical adventures.
Sam Strong and Lee Lewis join forces to co-direct, leading a stellar cast and creative team made up of Helpmann-Award winner Helen Dallimore (Wicked and Cinderella at Regent’s Park, London); Play School host, actor and singer Zindzi Okenyo; Nathan O’Keefe (Windmill Theatre and State Theatre Company’s Pinocchio); and actor Kate Cheel (Kneehigh Theatre in Brief Encounter). Original music is composed by Pip Branson and Mikelangelo, and performed live by Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen – who have pushed the boundaries of cabaret and music theatre with their jazzy dark cabaret blues for over a decade.
Kate Mulvany is an extraordinary writer and one of Australia’s most talented actors. Her recent acting credits include Bell Shakespeare’s Tartuffe and Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. Her playwriting accolades include The Seed, commissioned by Belvoir and based on her own family history, Somewhere, co-written with Tim Minchin to commemorate the opening of the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in Penrith, and Medea – which won the prestigious AWGIE award in 2013 in the Theatre: Stage category.
“Kate Mulvany’s dream to see her work produced was first shared with me about four years ago, in fact it was one of the first commissioning ideas proposed to me as the incoming Artistic Director,” says Melbourne Festival Artistic Director, Josephine Ridge. “It takes time to create new work. Time and a lot of dedication, care and hard work by a lot of people. Masquerade is proof that it’s all worth it!”
Masquerade is one of four co-commissions by Melbourne Festival under the Australian Government’s Major Festivals’ Initiative managed by The Australia Council included in the 2015 program. Importantly three of these commissioned works are for children and families ensuring that the next generation of live arts enthusiasts are well catered for. The four works are: The Rabbits, Masquerade, Monkey Journey to the West and The Experiment.
Directors: Sam Strong & Lee Lewis Featuring: Kate Cheel, Helen Dallimore, Nathan O’Keefe, Zindzi Okenyo, Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen Designer: Anna Cordingley Lighting Designer: Geoff Cobham Composition & Musical Direction: Pip Branson & Mikelangelo
The Sumner – Southbank Theatre, 140 Southbank Boulevard, Southbank
Season: 22 – 25 October
Bookings: (03) 8688 0800 or online at: www.mtc.com.au
For more information, visit: www.festival.melbourne for details.
Image: Nathan O’Keefe in Masquerade – photo by Brett Boardman