It is unusual to hear an actor say they are looking forward to their new play being over but, in the case of Nick Pelomis, it is perfectly understandable.
Adelaide actor Pelomis is one of the stars of the upcoming new production of the favourite Australian play, Two Weeks With The Queen.
The day after the Parramatta Riverside Theatres season finishes on 22 July, Pelomis is heading to London to marry his partner, Australian-born theatre director Daniel Clark.
The actor and the producer met in March during the Adelaide Fringe Festival. They are now about to say I do in a civil partnership ceremony and celebrate their union in a lavish reception, which Pelomis won in a UK gay magazine.
We met, fell in love and decided to get hitched, he says. It is fresh, exciting and new.
If England is where we have to do it, then that is where we will do it. We will have a ceremony here later for our friends and family. It is just a shame it can’t be recognised here officially.
Pelomis won the Â£6,000 gay wedding reception through UK Gay Times, and the celebration will be held at London’s The Howard Hotel.
It’s very interesting I am getting married at The Howard, considering Howard is the one stopping us from doing this here, Pelomis says, referring to the Australian prime minister.
Before he can celebrate his nuptials and plan his married life with Clark, Pelomis will be performing in Two Weeks With The Queen, playing the role of Ted, a man who is dealing with the AIDS-related death of his partner Griff. Kristian Schmid, Mark Owen Taylor and Xavier Samuel are also in the cast, and it’s directed by Wayne Harrison.
As Ted helps care for Griff, he meets a young boy at the hospital, Colin, who is trying to meet the Queen to ask for the services of her personal doctor to treat his brother, who is battling cancer.
The young boy and the older gay man forge a strong friendship as they both deal with loved ones battling life-threatening illnesses. I remember the first time I read the book of this play, and the hair on my arms stood up, Pelomis recalls. It is so touching and emotional, and while it is a children’s piece, it speaks so strongly to adults.
It is told through the eyes of a 12-year-old, but you can see through the na?ty to see what else is going on. Ted is so focused on grief and death, but Colin represents a positive life force and is young and optimistic. It makes for a wonderful contrast.
Two Week With The Queen by Morris Gleitzman was first published in 1990 and was later adapted into a play by Mary Morris. Amendments have been made to the text in recent years to update the story to deal with the improvements in HIV care and medications. Despite the changing of times, Pelomis believes the play remains as strong as ever.
It really has aged quite well, he says. The play was one of the first to deal with it [AIDS] so strongly. It is not preachy -“ it is just fabulous.
Two Weeks With The Queen plays 19-22 July at the Parramatta Riverside Theatres. Bookings on 8839 3399.