Nick Enright and Terence Clarke’s light-hearted yet bittersweet Australian story with delightful songs and lively dance numbers makes Summer Rain the perfect way to end the year at the New Theatre until 17 December 2016.
It’s Christmas Eve, 1945. Harold Slocum, proprietor of Slocum’s Travelling Family Tent Show, has a love of the horses, an intimate relationship with bookies and no money to pay his troupe.
After the performers walk out, the Slocum family finds itself in the drought-blighted NSW outback town of Turnaround Creek. Deciding to put on a show, they muster the enthusiasm of the townsfolk, despite the hostility shown by local publican Barry Doyle, who remembers the last time Harold was in town, 16 years previously.
Then the drought breaks and the Slocums are stranded. Over nine days of rain, dormant memories of an illicit affair resurface and emotions run high, new life is breathed into the town, love blossoms and a feeling of rejuvenation and optimism for the future after the long years of war, beings to take hold.
Nick Enright and Terence Clarke’s charming musical celebrates the vaudeville troupes which travelled outback Australia in the 1930s and 40s and the tight-knit rural communities they entertained. Originally written for National Institute of Dramatic Arts’ (NIDA) graduating class of 1983, Summer Rain received it professional premiere in 1989 at Sydney Theatre Company. It features the songs Once in a Blue Moon, You Might Miss The Mongrel, The Word on the Wind, and Summer Rain.
At the helm is Trent Kidd, making his directorial debut at New Theatre following stints as choreographer on Privates on Parade and Sweeney Todd. Kidd has assembled a top-notch team of creatives including Musical Director Tim Cunniffe (We Will Rock You), set and costume designer Mason Browne (Ruthless: The Musical) and lighting designer Juz McGuire (Sugarland).
Nick Enright (1950–2003) trained for the theatre at New York University School of Arts after early experience in Australia. He was an actor, director and teacher as well as a prolific writer. He has also written for film and television, including co-writing with George Miller the screenplay for Lorenzo’s Oil which was nominated for an Oscar, a number of musicals with composer Terence Clarke, and the book for the Australian production of The Boy From Oz. Among many awards were two Green Room Awards for Best Play, and four Gold AWGIE Awards, the 1998 Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award and the NSW Premiers’ Special Award.
Terence Clarke is known as a director, composer, pianist, actor, musical director, dramaturg and teacher. He was founding Artistic Director of the Hunter Valley Theatre Company; Associate Director of the National Theatre Company, Perth; Artistic Director of the Australian National Playwrights’ Centre; and Head of Directing at NIDA. His musical collaborations for the stage include Flash Jim Vaux (with Ron Blair), and the award winning Variations and Summer Rain (both with Nick Enright).
Director/Choreographer: Trent Kidd Featuring: Rebecca Burchett, Daisy Cousens, Laurence Coy, Anna Freeland, Catty Hamilton, Tom Handley, David Hooley, Nat Jobe, Jaimie Leigh Johnson, Michele Lansdown, Joy Miller, Jacqui Rae Moloney, Clare O’Connor, Brett O’Neill, Steven Ritchie, Andrew Sharp, Chris Wilcox Musical Director: Tim Cunniffe Set & Costume Designer: Mason Browne Lighting Designer: Juz McGuire Costume Designer: Nicola Block Assistant Director/Assistant Choreographer: Caroline Mooney Production Manager/Stage Manager: Jo Jewitt
New Theatre, 542 King Street, Newtown
Season continues to 17 December 2016
Information and Bookings: www.newtheatre.org.au
Image: David Hooley and Anna Freeland feature in Summer Rain – photo by Chris Lundie ©