ITS advertising was sensationally banned from Stirling Council’s website back in July – but The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband is back for another show in the same council area.
After previous sell-out shows in Yokine (and a quick sojourn to the Swan Valley), the outrageous black comedy is now being served up at Tuart Hill’s Lucafe Italian Cafe on October 17.
Directed by Jane Sherwood for Much Productions, Debbie Isitt’s The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband is the story of Kenneth and Hilary who have been married nearly 20 years.
As middle age encroaches, Kenneth finds himself in the arms of another woman and, at first, his new lover Laura seems to represent everything missing from his life. But there’s just one little problem: she can't cook.
Kenneth mourns the loss of Sunday roasts and the comforts of a settled life so, when Hilary invites Kenneth and Laura over for dinner, he readily accepts – unaware of what tasty treats Hilary has on the menu.
Playwright Debbie Isitt was born in 1966 in Birmingham, trained as an actor in Coventry and a string of award-winning black comedies then lured her to the world of writing. Her most renowned work, The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband, was first staged in 1993 and holds the same dark themes she carved her career from.
She has gone on to become a top film director with her trilogy of Christmas comedy films Nativity (starring Martin Freeman), Nativity Two: Danger in the Manger (starring David Tennant) and Nativity Three: Dude, Where’s My Donkey? all box office-winning labours of love. The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband continues to be performed all over the world.
This latest Perth production caused uproar with one of its publicity images – the character Hilary supposedly cooking Kenneth’s head in a saucepan. The photo was clearly created with photoshop and done for comic effect.
But someone somehow conflated it with an infamous 2000 murder in New South Wales where Katherine Knight murdered her partner and cooked his head in a pot, despite the fact the play was written in 1993 and could have no possible connection to the case.
Stirling Council promptly removed the image and event listing from its website, after one email complaint to the media. “We found that the perceived nature of the content and subject matter could be construed as offensive or inappropriate and therefore made the decision to remove the listing from our website,” the council said in a statement – without bothering to check with Much Productions (or using google) on what the play was about or asking for an alternative image.
“It’s a comedy about the two marriages and what Kenneth is like,” director Jane Sherwood said. “It’s simply a comedy about relationships and an affair.
“The audiences laugh a lot and cringe a bit, which is what we expect.”
Phoebe Deklerk, who plays Laura, described the challenges of the production. “It’s not easy staging a play in a café, which is obviously not purpose-built as a theatre space,” she said.
The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband plays at 5pm, Sunday, October 17. Tickets are $80 for the show plus share plates of antipasto, pane, insalata, pizza, pasta, risotto and sweets – book at tinyurl.com/womanlucafe
Note: the show has adult themes and is not suitable for children.
Lucafe Italian Café is at 132 Stoneham Street, Tuart Hill.
meredith-image: Meredith Hunter plays Hilary, a scorned wife with a recipe for all occasions, in The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband.
woman who cooked: Meredith Hunter, Jarrod Buttery and Phoebe Deklerk are back for another performance in the controversial The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband at Lucafe Italian Café.
woman1: The controversial promotional image that caused such an uproar.
media collage: Some of the media coverage after Stirling Council banned the use of the promotional image on its website.
Much Productions is producing theatrical productions in Perth and the South West of Western Australia.
P: 0421 974 286