North by Northwest has played sell out seasons in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, the UK, and Toronto.

Originally produced by the Melbourne Theatre Company and Kay & McLean Productions, this reimagining of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic spy-thriller enjoyed an overwhelmingly successful premiere season at the Art Centre Melbourne in 2015, as well as subsequent seasons in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Toronto and in the UK, receiving rave reviews and standing ovations.

Now, it’s time for Sydney audiences to find out what all the excitement is about.

In March 2022, North by Northwest will arrive on stage at the Sydney Lyric Theatre, starring David Campbell as Roger O. Thornhill, a suave advertising executive and man on the run. It’s a role that was made famous on film by the legendary Cary Grant more than 60 years ago. Joining Campbell are acclaimed Australian actors including Amber McMahon as Eve Kendall, Bert LaBonté as Vandamm, and Genevieve Lemon as Mrs Thonhill.

Playing Leonard (in addition to a host of other characters) is Lachlan Woods. He shares with Theatre People his excitement at being able to return to the stage with this critically acclaimed production, directed by Simon Phillips.

“It’s an incredibly exciting thing to be back on stage, and it’s incredibly exciting to be doing this show, in particular,” he says. “It’s big, it’s spectacular, and it’s very theatrical, so it’s a very satisfying show to return to.”

Lachlan Woods will return to the stage in the Sydney season of North by Northwest

“North by Northwest is a case of mistaken identity film,” Woods says. “Someone is mistaken for someone else, and that event triggers a whole series of other events … It’s a spy thriller mystery and the protagonist is a guy that didn’t mean to be there in the first place.”

Woods describes the production of North by Northwest as an honest presentation of the highly lauded 1959 film.

“It’s not just adapting the story for the stage, but it’s adapting the film for the stage and it’s taking with it a lot of the cinematic tropes and the Hitchcock signature moves of cinema and putting them on the screen,” Woods explains. “That extends all the way to the special effects. It’s not just about the text being similar to the film; it’s about the visuals being really familiar.”

What makes North by Northwest such a great piece for Australian audiences in 2022?

“This is a thrilling, exciting and ambitious show, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously,” says Woods. “People can really let go, sit back and just be blown away … You can go with the confidence that you’re going to have a really great time.”

He adds, “After two years of not being able to go to theatre, this is a show where you can go and see all of the best things that theatre can offer, in terms of the scale of theatricality, the wonders of watching a really tight ensemble … and having really big, hearty laughs. You get all of those things. So, it’s actually the perfect kind of show for the moment.”

2018 Australian Tour of North by Northwest (Photo credit: Darren Thomas)

Woods talks about how much he enjoyed being involved in the process of bringing this production together.

“The scale of the undertaking, the ambition of it … I remember, even in I think … our first preview or perhaps even opening night, we got to curtain call and I remember … looking to my left and right during the curtain call, seeing other people’s faces, and this feeling of, ‘Oh my gosh, we actually pulled it off!’

“It’s such an amazing thing to be a part of … It’s a real adventure to be inside of, and you get to do it in a big ensemble, which is such a fun thing.”

Woods also discusses how audiences have reacted to previous seasons of North by Northwest.

“People’s jaws drop in this show,” he says. “On stage, you hear palpable gasps, laughs, ‘Wows’ … things take people by surprise, and I think part of that is the sensational translation of these cinematic tropes and these famous images from the film. How they are realised in the live theatre experience really blows people away. And it’s just such a fun show … You can hear [the audience’s] laughter and engagement, and it moves so quickly that the audience is honestly swept up in the storytelling.”

Tickets for North by Northwest at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre are now on sale.
For details, head
to www.northbynorthwesttheplay.com.

 

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