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See Terrence McNally’s gay comedy 'The Lisbon Traviata' at The Garrick

Terrence McNally, one of the most prolific, multifaceted, and outstanding contemporary male dramatists, charted the homosexual experience in a society blighted by prejudice.

He produced three dozen plays, books for 10 musicals and libretti for a quartet of operas and won four Tony awards in a theatrical career spanning five decades. He picked up Tony Awards for his plays Love! Valor! Compassion! and Masterclass

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McNally’s plays are seldom staged in Perth, but from 4 to 20 April, audiences will be able to see his celebrated dramatic comedy The Lisbon Traviata at the Garrick Theatre, Guildford, WA.

The play depicts long-time friends Mendy and Stephen, who are ferociously dedicated and competitive opera buffs. Stephen is trying to distract Mendy from his crumbling relationship with his partner Mike, eventually leading to a confrontation where the characters’ larger-than-life passions explode on the scale of grand opera.

The very successful off-Broadway production is initially reminiscent of an Oscar Wilde drawing room comedy with witty dialogue crackling crisply, but it veers suddenly from high comedy to stark tragedy, using an obsession with grand opera as a metaphor to bring the play to an explosive conclusion.

The Lisbon Traviata is the latest of several gay plays directed by multi-award-winning director Barry Park, whose productions have included The Normal Heart, The York Realist, Beautiful Thing, The Boys in the Band, M. Butterfly, and Design for Living.

Park says The Lisbon Traviata is a fascinating play with a curious mixture of comedy and tragedy – and interesting operatic allusions.

“There are snatches of mock-operatic operas and superbly dramatic re-enactments of death scenes from famous operas.

“There are also deep emotional truths, jealous outbreaks, and moments of real longing and despair that crescendo into a devastating dramatic finale.

“I am delighted to bring a play of this calibre by the master playwright Terrence McNally to the Garrick Theatre’s stage,” Park said. “I’m sure that audiences are going to love this very gay and, at times, risqué production.”

Four seasoned and passionate actors are playing the larger-than-life gay characters: Adam Poole as the jealous Steven, Martin Churcher as the obsessive Mendy, Patrick Downes as Mendy’s wandering lover Mike, and young Alex Comstock as the guileless Paul.

The show contains adult themes, coarse language, violence and brief nudity. Tickets are on sale now

Performance Dates

Thurs 11, Fri 12, Sat 13 April at 7.30pm
Sun 14 April at 2.00pm 
Thurs 18, Fri 19 April at 7.30pm
Sat 20 April at 2.00pm and 7.30pm
Sun 21 April at 2.00pm
Thurs 25, Fri 26, Sat 27 April at 7.30pm

Source: Media Release. Photograph by Jeremy Moore shows Alex Comstock (Paul) and Patrick Downes (Mike) rehearsing for The Lisbon Traviata.

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