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Backstage dramas exposed in comedy

TRIBUTE SHOW: Actors Carleena Walsh, left, and Anton Bentley are going back in time for a theatre’s final show of the season. Times photo Chris Harrowell

• Howick and Botany Times

TERRY Hooper is relishing the chance to take audiences back to the grand old days of vaudeville theatre, when stars such as Abbott and Costello and Laurel and Hardy ruled the roost.

The 40-year-old is directing Backstage, Howick Little Theatre’s final show of the year.

The cast of six is being put through its paces to deliver what Mr Hooper calls a “great cracking laugh” full of old-fashioned slapstick humour.

The story, written by Roy Smiles, is set in 1939 and follows the dramas of Hanna and Herb Leibman, a husband and wife acting team touring the United States with their son and daughter in tow, along with Marie, their assistant and close confidante.

The drama – and more than a few laughs – arrive as their marriage falls apart because of Herb’s wandering eye and Hanna’s egomania.

Mr Hooper, of Howick, says the production pulls together a fantastic cast with a well-written and fast-paced story.

“This play is something of a tribute to [comedy act] Abbott and Costello,” he told the Times.

“It brings up the drama that happens backstage at a show and is really good fun. When we first saw the stage we said it’s like every theatre we’ve ever worked in.

“The front of house can look so flash and regal and the backstage area will be dark and drab.”


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