Theatre 44’s production of Australia bush folk musical Reedy River is into its final week of rehearsals ahead of the show’s two performances this weekend. The cast and crew have been hard at work, ironing out any nerves, ahead of Saturday’s opening night.
Reedy River co-director Lyn Collingwood – best known for her role as Coleen Smart in Home and Away – has been in Broken Hill since Sunday, overseeing the production’s final week following many weeks of Zoom calls from her base in Sydney.
“Last year, there was a book launched on the history of the New Theatre movement. Deb [Hunt, who’s the organiser] came to the book launch and she was talking about trying to revive the activity here in this theatre and said, ‘anything we can do?’. There was a whole chapter in the book about the history of Reedy River,” Ms Collingwood told the Truth.
From there, the musical about the 1891 Australian shearer’s strike, that will include a full acoustic bush band, has been brought to Theatre 44.
Ms Collingwood admitted “it’s been a bit of a strange process”, but one where “they’ve worked very hard on it”.
“Some of the cast are very nervous about it. I did have audition pieces that they had to present, I said, ‘we’ll do it very professionally’, You try people in different little parts and just give them a few bits to do, people reacting to other people, because I think acting is very often about whatever’s going on between the characters rather than being a solo act.”
Reedy River will be showing on Saturday, June 3 from 7.30pm and Sunday, June 4 at 2pm, at Theatre 44 (179 Wills St). Saturday’s opening night performance will also act as a fundraiser for Theatre 44, with drinks and nibbles on sale at the pop-up Outback Bar. Tickets can be purchased via https://events.humanitix.com/reedy-river/tickets.
“I just hope that people will come and have their tonsils well-oiled and they’ll join in the singing because as the show develops, we’ve got the more popular songs that everybody knows near the end and I think everybody knows Click Go The Shears or Wild Rover, at least they can sort of hum along to the chorus.”