Black comedy and 1960s lust blossoms at Old Mill Theatre

Tom Rees, left, Trish Farrell and Joe Tareha battle it out in Noel O’Neill’s No Bed of Roses at the Old Mill Theatre.

Tom Rees, left, Trish Farrell and Joe Tareha battle it out in Noel O’Neill’s No Bed of Roses.

NEVER invite someone into your home without considering the consequences – especially if you’ve confused lust for love.

Set in early 1960s London, the black comedy No Bed of Roses comes to the Old Mill Theatre this April and explores what happens when a controlling woman invites a stranger into her house and life.

She thinks she loves him and demands her husband accept the situation but, without realising who the stranger really is or what he wants, circumstances spiral out of control.

Nora (Nicola Chapman, right) tries to manipulate her mother’s new boyfriend George (Joe Tareha) in No Bed of Roses.

Nora (Nicola Chapman, right) tries to manipulate her mother’s new boyfriend George (Joe Tareha) in No Bed of Roses.

No Bed of Roses is written and directed by award-winning local writer Noel O’Neill, inspired by his time in London as a seven-year-old through to his mid-teens.

“I wanted to write this play because I have always somehow been locked into the ’60s and the kitchen sink dramas that were popular in theatre at the time,” he said.

“Those times come back to me very easily so I wanted to paint a picture of them, adding black comedy. Music was also important because it speaks for the times.”

In writing the play, Noel said he took the old question of “What if…?” and let the story unfold.

“The challenge was getting into the mindset of the characters and living with them as I put them down on paper,” he said. “It’s an exhausting, beautiful experience to create characters out of thin air and God-gifted imagination.

“Directing the play was just a matter of adding actions to the script and allowing the actors the freedom to take it to another level.”

Born in Ireland, Noel moved to New York in his late teens and studied acting with Lee Strasberg and Herbert Berghof, appearing in many off-Broadway productions including One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Of Mice and Men.

Since moving to Perth 12 years ago, he has appeared on stage and directed and written numerous shows for the Old Mill and KADS Theatres, Graduate Dramatic Society and the Irish Theatre Players.

Sadie (Trish Farrell, right) tries to shut up her husband Sid (Tom Rees) in No Bed of Roses while her conniving daughter Nora (Nicola Chapman) looks on.

Sadie (Trish Farrell, right) tries to shut up her husband Sid (Tom Rees) in No Bed of Roses while her conniving daughter Nora (Nicola Chapman) looks on.

Noel has won numerous awards for writing, directing and currently lectures for the WA Academy of Performing Arts and Perth Actors’ Collective.

“I previously directed No Bed of Roses at KADS Theatre two years ago but I always like to give other actors the opportunity to bring my work to life with a fresh take on the script,” he said. “In my classes, if I recognise someone is passionate about their craft I am more than happy to cast them in some of my plays.”

No Bed of Roses plays at 8pm, April 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19 and 20 with a 2pm matinee April 14. Tickets are $25, $20 concession – book on 9367 8719, oldmilltheatre@iinet.net.au or online HERE.

The heritage-listed Old Mill Theatre is on Mends Street, South Perth, opposite the Windsor Hotel and Australia Post.