Saturday, August 24th, 2013
WHETHER it’s taking on a minor role in Packed to the Rafters or taking to the stage in a theatre show, Perth actor Belle Toy has embraced the joys of acting from a young age.

Her latest production is Colder Than Here at Melville Theatre, a gentle comedy about a woman dying of bone cancer – and her family coming to terms with it.

Written by Laura Wade and directed by Susan Lynch, it’s the heartwarming story of Myra and her determination to plan her own funeral while her husband buries his emotions and her two daughters struggle to accept their mother's fate.

As she researches burial spots and bio-degradable coffins, her family is forced to communicate with her as they face up to an unpredictable future.

Toy plays Jenna, one of the daughters and baby of the family, and describes her as spoilt, insecure, self-centred, highly strung, fragile and immature.

“She’s had an eating disorder in the past and constant relationship problems,” she said.

“In the play, Jenna’s having a hard time coming to terms with her mother’s terminal diagnosis while also dealing with her own boyfriend problems and new, strange family dynamics.

“The character is tricky but her insecurities and cattiness are a good challenge for me because the role is quite different to others I’ve played in the past.”

Performing through primary, high school and university, Toy has worked on numerous stage productions as an actor and behind the scenes.

In 2008-09 she lived in Sydney and scored numerous film and television roles, including a minor role in Packed to the Rafters where she played the young version of Rachel Warne.

More recently, Toy has been involved with Mood Theatre, performing at Murdoch University in Mood's Monologue Night, Mood's Xmas Pantomime and Coronado.

“I am a theatre lover at heart and my passion lies in being on stage,” she said. “Working as a counsellor, theatre is my way of finding time for myself to unwind, relax and have fun.

“With Colder Than Here, I saw the play advertised and thought the storyline had a lot of guts to it, combined with humour and rawness – so I auditioned and here I am.”

Director Susan Lynch said she loved the script for Colder Than Here as soon she read it.

“This is a play about what happens to a family when someone is dying,” Lynch said. “Life goes on and relationships are tested while decisions are made about how to deal with the inevitable.

“It’s a story with a lot of gentle humour while everyone comes to grips with Myra’s decisions about how she wants to die and be buried.

“A death in my own family made me think about this play again and I decided now was the ideal time.”

Melville Theatre is donating $1 from every ticket sold, plus the proceeds of the nightly raffle and any donations, to SolarisCare, an organisation improving the quality of life for cancer patients and their carers by providing support to cope with the emotional and physical side effects of cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

The theatre is on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra.

colder-daughter: Hamilton Hill resident Belle Toy, centre, plays the spoilt and immature daughter Jenna in Colder Than Here with Sharon Menzies – also from Hamilton Hill – and Phil Lord as her mother and father.

colder-family1-2: Belle Toy (second from right), Ruth Gillen (left) and Phil Lord play the family of Myra (Sharon Menzies, second from left), trying to come to terms with her terminal illness – and cheery pragmatic approach – in Colder Than Here.


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Melville Theatre

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.
Susan Lynch
P: 0431 024 052


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