Stage legends John Bell and Linda Cropper lead an exceptional cast in Sydney Theatre Company’s production of the Broadway comedy Grand Horizons – which is having its Australian premiere at the Roslyn Packer Theatre in June.
The play, written by Bess Wohl, debuted in early 2020 and was originally set in America but STC’s Resident Director Jessica Arthur (Home, I’m Darling, Wonnangatta) has re-contextualised her production to an Australian setting.
Grand Horizons centres on Nancy and Bill – played by Cropper and Bell respectively – who, after 50 years of “married bliss” and much to the dismay of their adult children, decide to get a divorce.
The pair are joined in this production by a fabulous ensemble cast including Vanessa Downing, James Majoos, Johnny Nasser, Zindzi Okenyo (The Golden Age) and Guy Simon (Playing Beatie Bow).
Cropper, who is returning to the STC stage for the first time in 11 years, said it was exciting to be telling a story that “puts an older woman at its heart”.
Bell said it was “fascinating” to deconstruct family dynamics and delve below the surface of everyday behaviour.
“Grand Horizons will resonate with families facing challenges with parents going into care, with children who fear the established family dynamic disturbed by parents acting unconventionally and with older people reassessing the fruits of a lifetime’s marriage,” Bell said.
Arthur said the complex family dynamics in the play were universal and had been written with “such care” by Wohl that it was easily adaptable to an Australian context.
“Australian audiences will find individual resonances with the detailed characters and situations that are so beautifully crafted by Bess Wohl,” Arthur said.
“I am keen to mine the complexities of the characters. I am also excited by the fact that it offers up perspectives and experiences that we don’t see often enough onstage.”
Grand Horizons is playing at the Roslyn Packer Theatre from June 7 to July 3.
Photo Credit: Rene Vaile