UK’s interest in Australian theatre continues with national premiere of Belvoir’s hit play Seventeen opening this month.
This time its veteran British actors Michael Feast and Roger Sloman on a climbing frame at the Lyric theatre in London and the play begins on the last day of their A-levels rather than the HSC.
A Lyric Hammersmith production in association withBelvoir, Sydney- this is the first UK Production ofSeventeenfollowing its smash hit run inBelvoir in 2015.
The teen characters are being again being played by actors in their 70s. The aim is to cut through the generational divide, helping the young to realise that they will one day be old, and the old to remember what it was like to be young.
Matthew Whittet’s big hope for the play is that it will help grandparents understand their grandchildren, and vice versa. “It’s about bridging the gaps in a family – about encouraging people to understand that another generation, although several decades apart in age, are often going through similar emotions.”
Director Anne-Louise Sarks meet with the Lyric in 2015 when she was in London directingMedea at The Gate ( in association with Belvoir production). It was so popular that The Gate extended that season by another week. Anne-Louise had just wrapped on the premiere season ofSeventeen back in Sydney and the Lyric were interested in the producing model ofMedeaand decided to do the same thing withSeventeen.
It’s a great demonstration of how momentum builds with touring–awareness builds curiosity and conversations, and before you know it the team were back in town.
The play clearly resonated with Australian audiences and reviewers-
“Director Anne-Louise Sarks and her extraordinary cast quickly earn our acceptance. Action and dialogue is played with complete sincerity and depth of feeling. We laugh because what is said is truthful, not because it is being said by a septuagenarian in a hoodie.” SMH 2015
“Director Anne-Louise Sarks ...captures the joy, the heartbreak and exuberance of adolescence with her deft lightness of touch.” The Arts Review 2015
With London previews already underway and opening night on 14 March, it won’t be long before we know how British audiences respond.
• Seventeen is at the Lyric, Hammersmith, London, from 4 March to 8 April. More information atlyric.co.uk