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Move over Alice In Wonderland....

31 January 2006

Move over Alice In Wonderland.... Silo Theatre presents Mr Marmalade, directed by Michael Hurst 8 March – 15 April

Four year old Lucy’s imaginary world revolves around her imaginary friend and husband Mr. Marmalade, a bi-polar cocaine addict suit, who never has time for the child who adores him. Her real world, though, seems even crazier until she meets 5-year-old Larry, New Jersey’s youngest suicide survivor.

In Noah Haidle's twisted new comedy Mr. Marmalade, grown-up behavior and misbehavior are interpreted through the wide-open eyes of two precocious children played by Hannah Tolich (This Is Our Youth, The Women, Shortland Street) as Lucy and Paolo Rotondo (Shortland Street, The Insider's Guide To Happiness, Xena, Young Hercules, Jackson's Wharf, Street Legal, The Strip, The Ugly and Stickmen) as Larry. Above all this play makes you LAUGH.

This play isn't remotely appropriate for children (if you hadn’t guessed) and might well leave some adults wincing. But it refuses to use its corruptive and violent elements simply to shock: It also makes salient arguments about the current states of childhood and parenthood.

They are, of course, inextricably linked - Haidle forces us to remember not just that children exist and need adults, but that they're far more perceptive of what we do and say around them than perhaps we often realise. After all, four-year-old Lucy couldn't devise all of her ideas with no external influences. With her parents divorced, and her custodial mother working during the day and dating extensively at night, she's had lots of time to fill her head with cruel and unusual ideas from either daytime talk shows or the sadistic babysitter her mother sometimes engages.

It's a twisted coming-of-age story, a grown-up growing-up morality tale that just happens to be about children. (And, yes, all the actors are themselves adults.) The play's comedy and tragedy are well balanced (especially in a Greek shocker of a climax), and director Michael Hurst has staged the show as a blistering burlesque bump-and- grind, sort of acid flash back that keeps the haphazard happenings more on-kilter than you might presume possible.

Hurst says he’s excited about returning to contemporary theatre after a ten year stint of directing mainly classic texts.

Last year’s off-Broadway production of Mr Marmalade starred Meryl Streep’s daughter and saw Six Feet Under’s Michael C. Hall play the imaginary Mr Marmalade.

Also starring in Mr Marmalade: Andrew Laing (Shortland Street, Jacques Brel); Paul Barrett (The Goat, The Bach, Interrogation, Shortland Street), Charlie McDermott (Lord of the Rings, This is Our Youth) and Lauren Jackson (Perfect Creature, Up For Grabs)

“Haidle is a fearless writer, full of energy, confidence, and invention, and a willingness to push the envelope.” NY Theatre Review, November 2005.

Booking details: 8 March – 15 April, Silo Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland 7pm shows Mon-Tues. 8pm shows Weds-Sat Ticketmaster 09 970 9700


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