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Design For Living

A NOEL Coward romantic comedy - initially banned in the UK - will take audiences on a wickedly witty journey from Paris to London and New York as part of the Old Mill Theatres latest offering.

Directed by Barry Park, Design For Living is a provocative play that portrays three amoral, glib and stylish characters and their hopelessly inescapable, if also unconventional, emotional entanglement.

From 1930s bohemian Paris to the dizzying heights of Manhattan society, a tempestuous love triangle unravels between vivacious interior designer Gilda, playwright Leo and artist Otto - three people unashamedly and passionately in love with each other.

They are trapped in what one of the characters refers to as a three-sided erotic hodgepodge, Park said.

Its a lively and funny but also atypical play that looks at dazzling, egotistical creatures and their self-destructive dependence on each other.

Id describe it as a stylish and scandalous comedy, exploring themes of bisexuality, celebrity, success and self-obsession.

The main task, according to Park, is portraying the three settings on stage.

Its going to be a challenge to fit the sets and furniture on the small Old Mill stage but Ive worked out a crafty way to do it, he said.

There's a lot of rapid dialogue in the play and the cast is going to have to be really on the ball - particularly the leads, who are rarely off stage.

It also offers some wonderful set and costuming opportunities, given the time period is the glamorous early 1930s.

Acting and directing since the 1970s, Park has performed in a plethora of plays, musicals, pantomimes, minstrel shows, films, radio plays and television in Salisbury, Cape Town, Edinburgh, London and Perth.

He is equally at home performing in pantomimes and comedies such as Black Comedy, A Laughing Matter and She Stoops to Conquer as he is in Shakespearean tragedies such as Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice and Othello.

Several plays Park has directed have won awards, including M. Butterfly which picked up gongs for best director and best play at WAs annual Finley Awards.

His productions of Broken Glass, The Real Thing and Cat On a Hot Tin Roof have also received several Finley Award nominations.

I always choose plays that are well-written which I think audiences will enjoy, Park said. Ive always loved NoŽl Cowards plays, which are clever, complex and entertaining and have previously directed Blithe Spirit, which I enjoyed immensely.

Design For Living is extremely funny and witty but it has a dark side and was very risque for its time.

Todays audiences will still find its content amusing, yet somewhat confronting, and will appreciate the opportunity to see it because the play is rarely staged.

NoŽl Cowards Design For Living plays at 8pm April 21, 22, 27, 28, 29, May 3, 4, 5 and 6 with 2pm matinees April 23 and 30. Tickets are $25, $20 concession - book at http://oldmilltheatre.com.au/tickets or on 0475 895 701.

The heritage-listed Old Mill Theatre is on the corner of Mends Street and Mill Point Road, South Perth (opposite the Windsor Hotel and Australia Post).

Web Link: Design For Living

Design For Living

 Old Mill Theatre, Mends Street  South Perth 
 Telephone: 0475 895 701


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