This evening marks the opening night for the Australian premiere engagement of Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning August: Osage County at the Melbourne Theatre Company.
It's also the first time the play has been produced beyond the reach of the Steppenwolf ensemble members, including Anna D. Shapiro, who directed the show in Chicago, New York and London. Instead, Simon Phillips takes the helm of a cast that includes Robyn Nevin as Violet Weston, Jane Menelaus as Barbara Fordham, Deidre Rubenstein as Mattie Fae Aiken, Rebekah Stone as Ivy Weston, Heidi Arena as Karen Weston and Roger Oakley as Charlie Aiken.
For those of you who were fortunate enough to see Cate Blanchett in the excellent 2005 Brooklyn Academy of Music mounting of Hedda Gabler, you'll recall that Nevin was the director of that fine revival.
Steve On Broadway's eyes and ears on the ground in Melbourne have already told me:
What a fantastic play!My source also tells me that Robyn Nevin, who is also among Australia's favorite character actors, is marvelous and can "make the audience turn on a dime."
I can see why it would resonate so strongly with an American audience -- it resonated pretty strongly here as well -- audible gasps, cheers, laughter to dead silence. But what fantastic writing. Gifts to the actors -- beautifully drawn characters, etc., etc., etc., etc. (insert rave here).
So hooray for good theatre -- long may it reign! And replenish our souls!
Another friend in Melbourne tells me:
EVERYONE is talking about Osage County!I only wish I could be there, but I'm certainly letting all my other friends in Melbourne know that they should not miss this play.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
Labels: August Osage County, Australia, Deidre Rubenstein, Heidi Arena, Jane Menelaus, Melbourne, Melbourne Theatre Company, Opening Night, Play, Robyn Nevin, Roger Oakley, Simon Phillips, Tracy Letts