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You've Got Hate Mail at The Roxy Lane Theatre

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Plenty of LOLs as love bytes with messed-up miscommunication
You've Got Hate Mail, ARENAarts, Roxy Lane Theatre, play, performing arts, comedy, email, texts, mobile, computer
Amy Swerlowycz, left, Allira Humberstone, Ron Arthurs, Robyn McCoy and Adam Lebransky in You've Got Hate Mail.


Welcome to the world of infidelities in the internet age. Written by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore and directed by Simon James, You've Got Hate Mail is the first production from ARENAarts in their new permanent home at the Roxy Lane Theatre (previously the Maylands Autumn Centre).

The story follows Richard, who is having an affair with Wanda, and everything is fine until he introduces his wife to the wonders of the internet – then accidentally sends her an email intended for his lover. What ensues is an internet farce where a marriage is on the rocks, as other affairs are launched and sail close to the wind of common sense.

But none of the characters actually talk to each other face-to-face – all communication is done via emails, texts and phone calls. The production will be performed in-the-round with the actors getting right up close to the audience.

You've Got Hate Mail, ARENAarts, Roxy Lane Theatre, play, performing arts, comedy, email, texts, mobile, computer
Technology leads to all sorts of miscommunication in You've Got Hate Mail with Ron Arthurs, left, and Robyn McCoy.

"You've Got Hate Mail features an array of mind-boggling misunderstandings, crazy arguments, desperate plans and strange hooks-ups with plenty of satirical barbs thrown around," Simon said. "It all demonstrates the lack of communication that goes on in the modern technological world.

"With ARENAarts recently moving into its new home, we were looking for a start-up show to present while the stage area was being altered and equipped out. You've Got Hate Mail struck me as a play that could be staged in-the-round in the auditorium area, so it fitted in perfectly with our renovation plans.

"I also found the play to be rather funny and loved the themes of miscommunication in a time when it's never been easier to communicate with each other, instead relying too much on technology rather than interacting with people face-to-face."

You've Got Hate Mail, ARENAarts, Roxy Lane Theatre, play, performing arts, comedy, email, texts, mobile, computer
You've Got Hate Mail finds Amy Serlowycz, left, Allira Humberstone, Ron Arthurs, Robyn McCoy and Adam Lebransky in something of an SMS mess.


Currently president of ARENAarts, where he has a more than 25-year association, Simon has written and directed more than 50 plays and has worked with the Old Mill, Stirling, Hayman and Pocket Theatres, Canning Players, Theatre-go-round, Curtain Up Drama Group and Constable Care over the past 30 years while also appearing in numerous theatre-in-education productions.

"With You've Got Hate Mail, directing in-the-round is something new to me which comes with its own demands and challenges," he said."Yet I love the idea of the characters getting up close and personal with the audience.

"The audience is only two rows deep on each side, so they'll not only get a great view of the action but they'll be very much drawn into the situations the characters are experiencing. The characters only communicate with each other via mobile phone, texts or emails – never face-to-face – so it's been fun sorting out which communication is which and how best to get it across in the staging."

You've Got Hate Mail, ARENAarts, Roxy Lane Theatre, play, performing arts, comedy, email, texts, mobile, computer
Amy Swerlowycz, right, in You've Got Hate Mail with Allira Humberstone


Amy Swerlowycz plays architect Peg, long-time best friend to Stephanie. "She's unlucky in love and, although she may never have learnt the life lesson about catching more flies with honey, she is fiercely loyal to those she cares about," she said. "But don't get on Peg's bad side because the girl can hold a grudge.

"She's a bit of a drama queen at heart and seems to thrive in the chaos that can be created with a few clicks of the keyboard. I'm focusing on making sure my voice projection is up to scratch for the show – the other cast members have amazing deep, booming voices so I've got to work hard to compete with them."

Performing while at high school, Amy then took a detour through two science degrees and several house moves before moving back to the metropolitan area late last year. She has since taken part in several acting classes, which re-awakened her passion to perform.

You've Got Hate Mail, ARENAarts, Roxy Lane Theatre, play, performing arts, comedy, email, texts, mobile, computer
Love bytes for Adam Lebranksy, left, and Robyn McCoy in You've Got Hate Mail.

"Although I didn't know much about ARENAarts or the play, director Simon James and the team were supportive and encouraging from my first audition," Amy said. "You've Got Hate Mail is a quirky, fast-paced show – there are some great one-liners – and it mirrors real life with everyone almost always connected to a wifi network.

"While this is mostly a good thing, sometimes things do go awry. In its own way, the show is a reminder that, sometimes, it's okay to switch off."

You've Got Hate Mail plays at 8pm October 12, 13, 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27 with 2pm matinees October 14 and 21. Tickets are $20, $16 concession – book at www.whatson.com.au/arena or call 9255 3336.

Please note: the show is for mature audiences and features adult themes, sexual allusions and some coarse language. The Roxy Lane Theatre is on the corner of Ninth Avenue and Roxy Lane, Maylands.

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Why? If you’ve ever mistakenly sent someone a text message and wished there was a “back” button, then this comedy is definitely for you.
When: 8pm October 12, 13, 19, 20, 25, 26 & 27; 2pm October 14 & 21
Phone: 9255 3336
Where: Roxy Lane Theatre, corner of Ninth Avenue and Roxy Lane, Maylands
Cost: $20, $16 concession
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