A rollicking farce of fun, joy and colourful characters

Suite Surrender cast L-R Paul Wanis, Adrienne George, Rebekkah Wilde, Fiona Carter, with James Banger and Joshua Houston behind. Picture: ALEXANDRA CARTER, WANDERLING PHOTOGRAPHY.

By Mikayla van Loon and Jamie Padgett

Lilydale Athenaeum Theatre Company brings back the 1940s aesthetic in a rollicking new comedy production.

Suite Surrender follows the story of two musical “divas” as they deal with their hatred for each other and their disputes throughout the hotel they are forced to share.

Tension and temperaments rise as they are mistakenly assigned the same hotel suite, sending the hotel manager into a spiral of anxiety trying to keep them both happy and as far away from one another as possible.

Director Bob Bramble outlined the importance of getting your spirits lifted by entertainment, especially in these dreary months.

“It’s that chance to get away from our troubles and cares and so on, and just be in a world that’s so far away and immerse yourself in it.”

A combination of the attire and music will resurrect the feeling and visuals of a 1940s wartime performance, inspired by the productions put on to raise money for the troops at the time.

Many fine details have been taken into account, from the costume design to the ambient music and audio, taking care to keep the audience fully immersed at all times, and bring about a sense of nostalgia.

“It’s the Great American Songbook type music that everybody of a certain vintage knows and loves,” Bramble said.

Starting in the mid 1970s and working with them for nearly 50 years, Bramble expresses his love for working with the theatre and depicted them as a “professional organisation” full of fabulous people.

This script was discovered when members of the theatre, including lead actress Adrienne George, met up during the pandemic and went through various play readings for their own amusement.

After realising the creative intention and careful, clever writing behind the work, it made an impression on them, solidifying it as an easy choice for a full scale performance.

The cast of nine has built a level of cohesion and coordination, as they rehearsed comedic exercises and get timing as perfect as possible.

“We have to be so attuned to what the other person’s doing with no visible ability to see what they’re doing, we have to listen for every change in dialogue or sound of doors opening and shutting,” George said.

Playing one of the divas, George said “it is a role that I love and I relish” because it’s a “chance to be glamorous and slightly self obsessed” for a moment in time.

Described as “joyful escapism” by George, the production is a light hearted and enjoyable way to relax in a world of colourful characters and clever dialogue.

Suite Surrender will be running from 27 June until 13 July with matinee performances on Saturdays 6 and 13 July as well as Sundays 30 June and 7 July.