By Drew Sheldrick
The smash hit Australian production of Holding the Man is heading to the UK with Kath and Kim star Jane Turner heading up the cast.
The play, adapted from Melburnian Tim Conigrave’s award-winning and best-selling memoir by playwright Tommy Murphy, will make its West End debut this spring at Trafalgar Studios 1 in London.
The true life story about the relationship between Conigrave and his high school sweetheart John Caleo experienced unprecedented box office success and critical acclaim when it opened at Sydney’s Stables Theatre in 2007 and took a swag of awards after its multiple Australian seasons.
The Trafalgar Studios 1 version will again be directed by David Berthold, who helmed the original Australian production, and designed by Brian Thomson, most recently known for his work on the musical version of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. It will be produced by Daniel Sparrow (All About My Mother) and Mike Walsh. It also marks the West End debut for Turner.
Berthold told Southern Star the UK production had been in the pipeline for some time and the English producers had been interested in bringing it over since seeing the show in Australia. He said he looked forward to working with Turner as she had a close relationship with the story.
“She knew John and Tim very well and was often hanging out at their homes in Melbourne,” he said.
“The production of Romeo and Juliet that’s mentioned at the beginning of the show, Jane was actually in.”
Berthold said the rest of the ensemble (which is yet to be cast) was likely to be a mix of British and Australian performers.
This won’t be the first time Holding the Man has been produced overseas. In 2007, the show was staged by San Francisco’s New Conservatory Theater Center, and it had its New Zealand premiere last year.
Murphy is expected to travel with Berthold to London for the new production. It begins its run on April 23 and is booking through to July.
info: You can find more information on the UK production at www.holdingtheman.com