Eddie Perfect’s highly lauded black comedy, The Beast, returns to the stage this month and with it comes Perfect’s no holds barred reveal of what really lies beneath the belly of the beast….it’s us!
The show introduces three professional couples who all show a devotion to an organic lifestyle, except when push comes to shove in the form of a dinner party that goes awry, do we see the cracks appear in the philosophies of these would-be wannabes
Rohan Nichol plays Simon, the husband of Gen (Christie Whelan Browne), and a self-styled seeker of truth. Says Nichol: “He was born to succeed. He enjoys shiny and exclusive possessions, experiences, and insights. I hate him too. He is the leader of the pack, by virtue of being motivated and curious. He would say he is open minded. He and Rob (Toby Truslove) have been friends for many years, and have recently acquired Baird (Eddie Perfect), a guy from a different side of the tracks, whom Simon finds amusing and down to earth. Simon does not relate to many women, except Sue (Heidi Arena).”
The play is about do-gooders who find that a sea change in the country is not all it’s cracked up to be. They are couples adrift and seeking redemption – or at least a way out… Nichol’s take on his character is that Simon believes that he is helping the people he cares about fulfill their potential. “He wants to touch, move, and inspire others. That’s admirable. He’s made some big changes in his life in the face of trauma and has followed through on them. He hasn’t just talked about them. But, in truth, he does talk about them an awful lot, so maybe that cancels out the following through part. Oh, and he’s also a whole shed of fun. Dangerous fun for the weak, but fun.”
This suits the actor Nichol down to a tee because he really likes roles where he can clown, where he can be physical, where the work requires precise timing. “Basically Eddie Perfect stuff, ” he says. “I’ve had the good fortune to work with him a few times, and each time I’ve gone a little bit outside what I normally get cast as. In TV, I’m commonly cast as some sort of enforcer, or love interest – and I really enjoy that stuff too – but there’s a whole other, nut job side to me as a performer that Eddie and only a few others know – I suppose it comes from knowing each other a while. It helps having someone on the inside!”
Nichol was around when Perfect was developing THE BEAST – Perfect’s first gig as playwright. “There was a workshop, and I read the role of Simon and . . . you know, had a blasting time,” he says. “Then Eddie would come back in the next day with, like 30 more pages of gold. So I’ve known this play for a little bit. As soon I knew it was happening, with Mr. Phillips directing and Eddie in it, I made a big push. Thankfully, they saw it my way.”
“The coolest part is going to be . . . . well, everything that comes out of my mouth. I’m quite selfish like that. I could never get away with being Simon. No one can. Not even Simon. You’ll see.”
“Honestly though, to play with this bunch of folks, especially my good mate Toby Truslove, whom I’ve known for over 20 years, will be fabulous. The more I see of these guys, the more I love and respect them. I’m sure that will taper off at some point, but right now, we’re rocking steady.”
Nichol is a WAAPA graduate with a fair swag of impressive credits to his name. Theatre credits include: Shane Warne: The Musical and Queen Lear for Melbourne Theatre Company. Films include: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men tell No Tales and Star Wars Episode 3 with TV credits including: A Place To Call Hone, Upper middle Bogan, Eddie Perfect: The Future is Expensive and Underbelly.
Perfect has created a politically incorrect hoot: There will be blood. There will be food. There will be perfectly matched wine. It’s the worst dinner party ever. And you’re invited. The Beast is a horrible play about a bunch of people you’d hate to meet, doing dreadful things for stupid reasons.
SYDNEY | Sydney Opera House, Drama Theatre | 27 July – 14 August
MELBOURNE | Comedy Theatre | 25 August – 4 September
BRISBANE | QPAC| 15 – 18 September