SOCIAL snobbery in all its guises comes to the fore in Melville Theatre’s latest production, as old views of British society clash with contemporary attitudes of American culture.
Written by Noel Coward and directed by Tarryn Harris (née Bullock), Relative Values is a comedy about the Earl of Marshwood choosing a Hollywood actress as his bride.
Her arrival at Marshwood Manor sends everyone into a tailspin, given she lives her life off-screen as though she is still in front of the camera.
Coward is famous for a wealth of plays including Hay Fever, Private Lives, Design For Living, Present Laughter and Blithe Spirit.
Relative Values was first performed in 1951 and adapted into a 2000 film featuring Julie Andrews, Colin Firth and William Baldwin.
Harris says she has always loved Coward’s humour.
“After directing his one-act play Hands Across The Sea last year, I wanted to tackle one of his full-length plays,” she said.
“Relative Values is one of the less well-known Coward plays, written decades after his most famous ones, which makes it a bit more refreshing in setting and character.
“I love the interactions between the characters and the individuality of each personality.”
Originally studying drama, dance and music at John Curtin College of the Arts, Harris has gone on to perform with Limelight, Roleystone, Stirling and Melville Theatres, Prompt Corner and the MS Society in a variety of productions over the past decade.
In 2012, she received a best female (other than a lead) nomination at the annual Finley Awards for her role in the musical Jack The Ripper at the Koorliny Arts Centre.
With Relative Values, Harris said the main challenge is managing all elements of the production on such a large scale.
“Tying in with that, I also need to make sure everything is ready when it needs to be,” she said. “But I feel confident with the support I’ve been given by everyone around me.
“When it came to auditioning, finding the right number and quality of available male actors was challenging but I’m glad to say it all fell into place for this production.”
Relative Values plays at 8pm, July 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26 with a 2pm matinee July 20. Tickets are $20, $15 concession – book on 9330 4565 or at www.meltheco.org.au.
Melville Theatre is on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra.
relative1: The Countess of Marshwood (Susan Lynch, right) is shocked to find Hollywood stars Miranda Frayle (Tatiana Dalina) and Don Lucas (Cameron Leese) rekindling their passion in Noel Coward’s Relative Values.
relative2: Geraldine Harrington, left, Sean Bullock, Susan Lynch and Darren Goodison are appearing in Noel Coward’s Relative Values this July.
relative3: The Earl of Marshwood (Sean Bullock, centre) and Hollywood actress Miranda Frayle (Tatiana Dalina, right) make demands of maid Alice (Juliett Greenock) in Relative Values. [Note for subs: two Ts in Juliett is correct]
The Melville Theatre Company was the brainchild of David J. Burton who, in 1982, called a meeting for interested people in the community to form a theatre company in the Melville area.
As a result, the Melville Theatre Company was born. The newly formed company's first production was the farce, Not Now Darling. With its second production, The Sound of Music, the young company won the Finley Award for the Best Production of the Year in Community Theatre. Since then, actors and directors have consistently featured in the list of awards at the annual State Drama Festival, now known as Dramafest.
Initially, performances were in the Melville Civic Centre but, since 1987, the venue has been the Roy Edinger Centre, on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra.
Tarryn Harris (née Bullock)
M: 0401 337 330