From page to stage: curtain up on Cloudstreet

Kit Leake, left, Nathan Hambly, Oliver Kaiser, Cynthia Pickering and Liam Crevola, at back, and Hayley Derwort, Chelsea Brickell and Rhiannon Cary, at front, are appearing as the Lamb family in Cloudstreet.

THE classic Australian novel Cloudstreet by Tim Winton will open its pages onto the Old Mill Theatre stage this June.

Adapted by Nick Enright and Justin Monjo and directed by Brendan Ellis, it spans 20 years in the lives of the Pickles and the Lambs, two families thrown together by fortune in a large, haunted house in Cloud Street, Perth.

The deeply moving, funny and tragic tale of Aussie suburbia tells a universal truth about the meaning of home and urges of the human heart, as two utterly mismatched families crammed under one crumbling roof learn to live together.

Cloudstreet has been described as an allegory for the Australian experience, touching on subjects as diverse as the isolation of indigenous people and sexual revolution of the 1960s.

Cloudstreet features Hayden Tognela, left, Phil Barnett, Madelaine Jones, Leoni Leaver and Brad Albert as the Pickles family.

While the original novel won the Miles Franklin Award in 1992, the stage version has gone on to triumph in Zurich, Dublin, London, New York and Washington, picking up the 2002 Helpmann Award for Best Play.

“Every full-length show I’ve directed so far has been Australian and I wanted to continue that trend because I think it is so important to see Australian works on stage,” Ellis said.

Cloudstreet’s dialogue is full of beautiful imagery, faithfully adapted by the playwrights, and there are so many great characters that I can guarantee audience members will be able to relate to at least one and say ‘I’ve been there’. 

“A lot of content has been removed or is only alluded to in the play – the big milestone moments remain but the smaller details have taken a back seat.

“They will be portrayed by the actors through physicality and their emotion, rather than through dialogue.” 

Quick (Nathan Hambly, left) and Fish (Oliver Kaiser) in Cloudstreet.

Involved in theatre for more than 15 years, Ellis has appeared with Stirling, Playlovers, Limelight, Marloo, Melville, Garrick and Groovy Boots Theatres and ARENAarts in productions such as Maskerade, Miranda and Twelve Angry Men, among many others.

He directed David Williamson’s A Conversation at the Old Mill Theatre in 2013, winning the annual Milly Award for best director and best production, and also directed Ninety at Garrick Theatre in 2014, another best production winner.

Cloudstreet is by far the largest show I’ve ever directed,” Ellis said. “It has 17 cast members and more than 100 scenes across three acts.

“Scheduling rehearsals has been a struggle but the actors are so smooth and the scenes go by so quickly that I think audience members will be surprised by how fast the show goes.”

Lester (Kit Leake, left) and Oriel (Cynthia Pickering) aren’t happy with the news from their son Lon (Liam Crevola) and his girlfriend Pansy (Nikki De Camillo) in Cloudstreet.

Cloudstreet plays at 7.30pm June 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30 and July 1 with 2pm matinees June 18 and 25. Tickets are $25, $20 concession – book ONLINE HERE or on 0475 895 701.  

Please note: the show is rated M15+ and features coarse language and implied sex scenes.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Notes

Weekend Notes has run a story on the Cloudstreet, which can be viewed at www.weekendnotes.com/cloudstreet-old-mill-theatre