Nick Enright and Terence Clarke wrote Summer Rain, a charming and quintessentially Australian musical, in the 1980s. It’s wistful, light, and lively, and features Enright’s trademark of deceptively simple lyrics that can conjure up whole worlds.
lf you’re in Sydney, and you’ve never seen Summer Rain, or you saw it a while ago and you’d love to see it again, you’re in luck: Newtown’s New Theatre is staging the show to help us ease into the summer months. (And as someone whose cat is named after a character in another Nick Enright musical, I know I’ll be there).
Imagine this: It’s Christmas Eve, 1945. Harold Slocum, proprietor of Slocum’s Travelling Family Tent Show, has placed a few too many bets and is too broke to pay his troupe. The performers walk out and the Slocum family is stranded in Turnaround Creek, a next-to-nothing town in the New South Wales outback.
The only way out of this mess seems to be the showbiz one – put on a show! – but local publican Barry Doyle is not having it. Could it have something to do with the last time the Slocums and their tent show traveled through, just about sixteen years ago?
Trent Kidd, who has choreographed shows (Sweeney Todd, Privates on Parade) at the New, will make his directorial debut with Summer Rain. Tim Cunniffe (We Will Rock You) will be Musical Director. Sets and costumes are by Mason Browne (Ruthless) with lights by Juz McGuire (Sugarland).
The cast ranges from 15 year old Rebecca Burchett to ‘old pros’ such as Laurence Coy (The Drowsy Chaperone, The Man of La Mancha, High Society) and Green Room Award-winner Jacqui Rae Moloney (Anything Goes, Guys and Dolls, Hairspray). They’re joined by WAAPA graduates David Hooley (Privates on Parade), Nat Jobe (Crazy For You), Tom Handley (Wicked); Anna Freeland, Michele Lansdown and Brett O’Neill from the cast of Squabbalogic’s hit The Drowsy Chaperone; and returning to New Theatre, Sweeney Todd cast members Jaimie Leigh Johnson, Daisy Cousens and Steven Ritchie.
For tickets and more information visit newtheatre.org.au (no booking fee!)