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Mack and Mabel - Northern Light Theatre Company

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by Nathaniel Mason (subscribe)
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Side-splitting slapstick, pie filled faces and scantily clad bathing beauties epitomise the glory days of the early 1900's silent movie era. Celebrating their 50th year of performances, Northern Light Theatre Company (NLTC) will recreate the mayhem, laughter and calamity of it all presenting Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart's "Mack & Mabel".

The story follows Mack Sennett reminiscing on aspirations of making the 'Big Time', amongst highs and lows of early celebrity life and film studio drama. Along the way, the story tells of the complex relationship ebbs and flows between famous director, Sennett and his comedienne protégé Mabel Normand amongst conflicts of love, ego and business. Producing slapstick icons like the Keystone Cops and the "pie in the face" gag, Mack pursues film success in comedy while Mabel struggles between romantic, personal and professional pursuits of the Hollywood lifestyle.

Mack and Mabel The Musical Northern Light Theatre Company
Movies were Movies

The original 1974 Broadway production of Mack & Mabel starred Robert Preston and Bernadette Peters, receiving eight Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical. Fresh from his leading role as Fiyero in the SA premiere of 'Wicked' with Matt Byrne Media, Michael Bates will bring the 'King of Comedy', Mack Sennett to life. The stunning and effervescent Mabel Normand will be played by Jeri Williams, following her last appearance on Adelaide stages as Adelaide in The Gilbert and Sullivan Society's award-nominated "Guys and Dolls". The talented supporting cast include Northern regulars Rebecca Mason as the sparkling Lottie Ames, Daniel Watkins as Frank Wyman and Chris Bussey as 'Ella' with Northern newcomer Ray Cullen as the well known Fatty Arbuckle.

Directed by Andrew Hawkins with choreography by Amber Platten, Helen Loveday as musical director (MD) and Jade Andriani Assistant MD, Mack & Mabel promises to deliver a highly entertaining show. On what interested Hawkins most about directing Mack & Mabel, he comments "Apart from Jerry Herman's uplifting and memorable score, what interested me the most was the true story at the heart of it - two incredibly gifted people, like all of us a little broken in places, trying to find their connection and be honest about their vulnerability. And it is set against a backdrop of one of the most exciting era's in Hollywood's history".

The silent movie era, spanning the first quarter of the 1900's, was when film boomed in the mainstream as an entertainment medium and established many of the household names and icons still known today. It saw the establishment of 'Hollywood' when independent film makers and producers flocked to California, escaping a tightly controlled 'Movie Trust' on the east coast. It was the beginning of the 'Movie Star' as actors became known and featured in film advertising.

Mack and Mabel The Musical Northern Light Theatre Company
Mabel Normand, Silent movie heroine

Mack & Mabel celebrates this iconic time. Hawkins suggests audiences can expect "great production numbers, fun quirky characters and an homage to the silent movie world. Mack Sennett was the king of comedy so expect a lot of his trademark comedy genius and slapstick routines and when the camera stops rolling there is romance, murder, mystery and intrigue to keep the audience on the edge of their seats. It really does have all the elements of a great Broadway show".

Formed in April 1966, Mack & Mabel is the second major production of Northern Light Theatre Company's (NLTC) 50th year. Established as a way to present entertainment in the form of musical comedy and light opera to the people of the Northern districts, NLTC's first production was Quaker Girl. NLTC has consistently brought several shows annually and significantly expanded its dedicated following, presenting over 100 shows in the years since. Mack & Mabel will be performed at The Shedley Cafe Bar Theatre from October 14 to 29th.

Northern Light Theatre Company is thrilled to be presenting this show and, with this stellar combination of cast and production team, it is not to be missed.

ADVISORY WARNING: This show features depictions of drug use and violence. It may not be suitable for all viewers.

Tickets are available now from

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Friday 14th October 8pm
Saturday 15th October 8pm
Friday 21st October 8pm
Saturday 22nd October 2pm & 8pm
Friday 28th October 8pm
Saturday 29h October 2pm & 8pm

Ticket prices:
Adult $30
Concession $25
Family $90 (2 Adults / 2 Children under 12)

Mack and Mabel The Musical Northern Light Theatre Company
Highlights of the silent movie era

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Why? Side-splitting slapstick, pie filled faces and scantily clad bathing beauties epitomising the glory days of the 1910's silent movie era
When: October 14-29th, 2016
Where: The Shedley Theatre, 10 Playford Boulevard, Elizabeth SA 5112
Cost: $30 Adults, $25 Children, $90 Family
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