Shane has fled his family and is seeking refuge in Kings Cross. Confused and naive, he meets two strangers: the ultra-urban Will, who offers brotherhood, sex and something unexpected; and Peter, a fifty-year-old gay man whose mother is dying in a nursing home. With their help (or hindrance), Shane struggles to reconcile himself with events from his past. But how can he move on when he can’t even use laundry powder?
Described as “the best new Australian play since Michael Gow’s Away” (SX News), Murphy wrote Strangers in Between shortly before the astonishing success of Holding the Man. “It’s a comedy about fear, sex and the beautiful mentorships that are particular to the gay community”, says Murphy. “The characters struggle to decide whether their needs and duties to each other are framed by lust, something more tender, or something in between. It’s a common struggle in a world where power is so easily abused and signals misconstrued.”
The play went on to win the 2006 NSW Premier’s Literary Award, but has, until now, never been professionally presented in Melbourne. Producer Cameron Lukey (Angels in America) and Green Room nominated Director Daniel Lammin (Awakening), collaborators on the hugely successful Master Class in 2014/15, both agree now is the perfect time for a new production.
“Strangers has always been a beautiful, funny and deeply moving play about feeling lost and looking for connection, but with what has happened these past few years, it’s also gained a sense of anger”, says Lammin. “With the welfare of LGBTIQ+ youth reaching crisis point, and the validity of gay relationships, families and lifestyles continuously and viciously under attack, Tommy’s play has even more to say.”
AACTA winner Simon Burke (Malthouse and Griffin Theatre’s The Homosexuals and Foxtel’s Devils Playground) plays Peter, a role he workshopped at the Griffin Theatre in 2004. Joining Burke is Guy Simon (a recent Helpmann Award winner for his role in MTC’s Jasper Jones) in the dual role of Will and Ben, and Wil King (The Production Company’s La Cage aux Folles) as Shane. This stellar cast, matched with Lammin’s direction and Murphy’s “charming and often exhilarating” (Sunday Telegraph) play, promise to be an unmissable highlight of the Midsumma and Mardi Gras Festivals.
24 January –11 February
14 February –2 March