The Red Barn set to have Moree audiences in stitches
Words: Bill Poulos
WITH a star-studded cast of aspiring thespians treading the boards, the Moree production of Brian J Burton’s The Red Barn is set to put a whole new take on local theatre – and have audiences mirthfully mesmerised over two acts of delightful melodrama.
Written in 1963 and based on a true story from the early 1800s, The Red Barn premieres this week in Moree at the Uniting Church Hall.
Lovingly recreated by Moree Arts Council Thespians, the play is directed by Stevie Drenkhahn with Merri-May Gill taking star billing as virtuous young heroine Maria Marten and Joey Dixon as the devious squire, William Corder.
Ms Drenkhahn, who plays a manipulative gypsy woman as well as directs, said the entire crew has worked tirelessly in recent months to bring The Red Barn to life.
“The show is a fast-paced soap opera set in 1810 and the fabulous cast is larger than life – they bring every emotion to the stage,” she said.
All music is arranged by Ms Drenkhahn’s sister, well-known Moree musician Jacqualyn Lillyman.
“The music is very catchy and many of the numbers, especially Three Hisses for Villainy! and The Ballad of William Corder, will leave a lasting impression on the audience,” Ms Drenkhahn said.
Joey Dixon and Merri-May Gill lead an eclectic cast of local actors that include Tim Barklay (simple village idiot), Bernadette Quirk (witty sister of the heroine), David Watts (outraged father), Kate Brennan (doting mother), Rebecca Reardon (simple country girl), Anela Carroll, Jayne McDouall and Nicole Fitzgerald (wandering gypsies), Greg Cumberland (rejected love Interest), Greg Fisher (sexy maid), Alison Quirk (town maiden) and Michael Warick as the vengeful law officer.
The plot centres on Maria Marten, who is tricked by tales of marriage by villainous squire William Corder.
Maria subsequently falls pregnant and disappears.
Ms Drenkhahn said The Red Barn is humorous and fast-moving, and audience vocalisation is encouraged.
The Red Barn is playing at the Moree Uniting Church Hall on the following dates and times: Friday, April 29 at 7pm; Saturday, April 30 at 7pm; Sunday, May 1 at 2pm; Friday, May 13 at 7pm and Saturday, May 14 at 7pm.
The Friday night and Sunday sessions are theatre tickets only ($25 per adult and $10 per child) while Saturday night sessions include a tapas dinner and special Red Barn drinks at the Post Office Hotel prior to the show ($50 per adult).
Ms Drenkhahn encourages people to get a crowd together for a fun night out, with tickets available from David and Phoebe Watts’ A Tasty Surprise on Balo Street, Moree.
“The Red Barn is an absolute scream and the hilarity of the cast will leave the audience in stitches,” Ms Drenkhahn said.