Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

A TV adaptation that shot Catherine Zeta-Jones to fame comes to Limelight Theatre this April.

Based on the H.E. Bates novel, The Darling Buds of May was a popular UK television show in the early 1990s focusing on the Larkin family – Pop, Ma and their six children – in Kent during the 1950s.

Pop is a loveable trader-cum-junk dealer who hasn’t paid any taxes, which soon prompts a visit from tax inspector Cedric Charlton.

Nicknamed Charley by the family, 17-year-old Mariette takes a shine to him and the Larkins try to introduce the reluctant taxman to the delights of country living.

Director Carryn McLean said she loved the 1990s TV series and first saw the play produced in 2000.

“I love its time period when life seemed much simpler and, dare I say it, kinder than today,” she said. “It certainly seems less stressful.

“It’s interesting to note the H.E. Bates story was adapted by MGM in the 1950s as The Mating Game with Debbie Reynolds and Tony Randall.

“I’m a Debbie Reynolds fan and have seen the film at least three times.”

After joining Patch Theatre in 1968, McLean became a founding member of Stirling Players in 1970 and has appeared in numerous plays with the company over the years.

She was made a life member in 2000 and has also directed No Time On, Saving Ardley, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women and Two Weeks with the Queen.

With Limelight Theatre, McClean has stage-managed several shows including 42nd Street, Crazy for You, Half a Sixpence and Sunset Boulevard.

One of the main challenges with The Darling Buds of May is the use of a split set.

“The action constantly moves from one set to another so it’s a bit of a challenge for me as the director, the actors and the technical crew,” McLean said.

“The action is very fluid but we’re all up to it – at the end of the day, it’s a delightful family play.”

The Darling Buds of May plays at 8pm April 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23 and 24. Tickets are $21, $18 concession and $16 children – book on 0499 954 016 between 9am and midday, Monday to Friday, or at

Limelight Theatre is located on Civic Drive, Wanneroo.


darling1: Pop Larkin (Tim Riessen, left), Ma Larkin (Loz Haynes), Mariette (Natasha Stiven) and Cedric “Charley” Charlton (Jacob Turner) in The Darling Buds of May.

darling2: Mariette (Natasha Stiven) takes a shine to tax inspector Cedric “Charley” Charlton (Jacob Turner) in The Darling Buds of May.

darling3: The lovable Pop and Ma Larkin (Tim Riessen and Loz Haynes) share the delights of country living in The Darling Buds of May.

darling-natasha: Natasha Stiven is playing Mariette in a stage version of The Darling Buds of May – the role that shot Catherine Zeta-Jones to fame.

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Limelight Theatre

Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2013, Limelight Theatre is home of Wanneroo Repertory on Civic Drive, Wanneroo, in Perth's northern suburbs, located next to the Aquamotion Centre, opposite the memorial.

The theatre is always pleased to welcome new members, whether they want to act, direct, paint a set or simply receive monthly news.

Carryn McLean
P: 0417 937 271


The Darling Buds of May Catherine Zeta-Jones Limelight Theatre play stage performance performing arts Ma Larkin Pop Larkin Mariette



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