Following their riotous reception in 2015, the original cast of State Theatre Company South Australia’s The Popular Mechanicals have headed east to remount the show for Sydney Theatre Company, marshalled once again by former STC Resident Director Sarah Giles.
The troupe is bumbling its way through rehearsals of Pyramus and Thisbe, somehow surviving the misadventures brought on by their own sheer idiocy. The result is a riotously funny mix of Shakespearean verse, songs and dance that is lewd, rude and ingenious. Clowning, vaudeville, slapstick, farce, stand-up comedy and some hilarious puppetry come together to create an unhinged feast of wit and profanity.
This play of mischief, song and sheer silliness, The Popular Mechanicals was first directed by Geoffrey Rush in 1987 and holds a special place in the Australian comedic canon. Written by Keith Robinson and Tony Taylor, it is inspired by the Rude Mechanicals of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The actors of that original production – including Paul Blackwell and Kerry Walker among others – went on to become some of Australia’s most acclaimed stage actors.
In this new production, a troupe of the next generation’s best comedic talents, led by Helpmann Award-winning actress Amber McMahon and multi-Helpmann Award-winning actress Julie Forsyth, are joined on stage by Lori Bell, Charles Mayer, Tim Overton and Rory Walker.
With excerpts from the original text of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Popular Mechanicals rejoices in its own extravagance of expression. The cast of this play-within-a-play star in their very own behind-the-scenes romp of what might have happened off-stage during the Bard’s most loved comedy.
Director: Sarah Giles Featuring: Lori Bell, Julie Forsyth, Charles Mayer, Amber McMahon, Tim Overton, Rory Walker Designer: Jonathon Oxlade Lighting Designer: Mark Pennington Sound Designer, Composer and Musical Director: David Heinrich Choreographer: Gabrielle Nankivell
“There are Bottom jokes, poo jokes, giggles and japes. The Popular Mechanicals captures the bawdy spirits of the Elizabethan entertainments.” – The Australian
The Popular Mechanicals
Wharf 2 Theatre – Pier 4, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay (Sydney)
Season: 8 April – 13 May 2017
Information and Bookings: www.sydneytheatre.com.au
Image: The Popular Mechanicals – photo by Kris Washusen