Theatre Goers Spoilt for Choice

In rehearsal for Les Miserable. Photo supplied.

Friday the 13th is viewed as a bad luck day, but for two Albury-Wodonga theatre companies it’s the date of their opening nights, and for one the celebration of 10 years.

With final rehearsals underway, Border Café caught up with director of Livid Productions, Les Miserable, David Todd and The Other Theatre Company’s The Butterfly Lounge director, Alexander Gibbs.

Livid Productions is celebrating its 10th birthday with the popular musical Les Miserable, but director and company co-founder, David Todd said it’s a surprise to him that the company is not only still here but thriving.

“When Liz Kolisnyk and I decided to start the company and put on our first show, Godspell, there were only ten people in the cast and we had trouble in scraping that many people together. We had to ask friends and family.

“It has such a strong storyline and the songs and the meaning behind them are so beautiful”

“In Les Mis we have a cast of more than seventy, backstage crew, and an orchestra of more than twenty. It’s just grown and we even have generations of the one family in the show.”

David said he was very excited about bringing Livid’s version of the well-known musical, based Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel to local audiences.

“Most people know the story of the novel and the musical of Jean Valjean who breaks parole and creates a new life for himself and the police inspector. Javert who has sets on a lifelong quest to find Valjean. Valjean becomes guardian to the child of a factory worker when she dies.

“It has such a strong storyline and the songs and the meaning behind them are so beautiful. It’s very dramatic, especially the scenes that depict the fight between the people and the authorities,” David said.

But, he said as with all of their shows, Livid has brought its own interpretation to the production.

“People expect this from us. We’ve mixed up the period stuff, and are very proud that all of the sets and 80 per cent of the costumes are all made here. It’s a real home grown product.”

Meanwhile, The Other Theatre Company’s Butterfly Lounge is a reworking of the play that in its original iteration won the Adjudicator’s Award for Most Promising New Playwright at the Central Coast Theatre Festival in Wyong.

Outdoor rehearsals for Butterfly Lounge. Photo supplied.

Writer/Director, Alexander Gibbs said the play opening at The Butter Factory Theatre on Friday night has reached the potential it has always been capable of.

“When this was first performed the parameters were very specific – one act and no music. What audiences will see is a fully formed play that has had music created specifically for it by local composer/musicians, Tony Smith and Katja Jorgensen.”

The play is set in Chicago on Christmas Eve 1928 with Elliot ‘Lio’ Byrne drowning his sorrows at the Butterfly Lounge, an illegal speakeasy in the most dangerous neighbourhood in town.

The staff know him well, but unfortunately there are people who want a word with him. To complicate matters his wife, teenage daughter Amy, and his best friend Cal want to see him return to New York.

Alexander said bringing the play to fruition has fulfilled a professional ambition.

“When I directed Cosi I saw how music can not only lift the cast, but also the audience: it changes the atmosphere, so I’ve always wanted to write and direct a show with music.

“This has really put meat on the bones of the original show.”

For more information and bookings:

Les Miserables, Friday 13 – Saturday 20 October (Times vary)

Butterfly Lounge, 7.30pm Friday 13 and Saturday 14 October