BEYOND DESIRE - BACKGROUND
Poster and Rehearsal Shots
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BEYOND DESIRE is an original story inspired by the novel Maurice by EM Forster (Room With A View, A Passage to India, Howard's End) and is set within the grounds of Dovedale Manor, a country house in 1910 belonging to the Pemberton Family. At a time when a nervous Edwardian England awaits news of its sick King, Edward VII, the sudden death of family patriarch Edward Frances Pemberton rekindles a dark secret from the family’s past; a secret which will have deep impact on the entire household.
The Edwardian Period provides an extraordinary backdrop for this dramatic story at a time when the murder mystery was a popular genre both in literature and theatre. Following on from the traditions of the Victoria Penny Dreadful, and the huge increase in literacy, many would take home salacious stories of family intrigue, murder, revenge and ghosts. In the theatre, the likes of George Bernard Shaw and J.B Preistley were also challenging prejudices of politics, class, family values, marriage and the rights of women. BEYOND DESIRE captures some of these topics and throughout the musical, twists and surprises provide tension and suspense as the intriguing mystery of Edward’s death evolves. Encapsulating the universal themes of love, class, family intrigue, and deception, the musical also concentrates on less familiar themes of incest and forbidden love, as well as a great deal of humour from the misunderstandings of household life ‘upstairs and downstairs’.
The musical score is written by Kieran Drury with book and lyrics by Neil Rutherford and is an intimate piece of musical theatre for a wide range of theatre goers. It is an ensemble book musical with a cast of eight, and - for the Sydney World Premiere - an orchestra of six consisting of piano, violin, cello, harp, clarinet and horn. The musical style has a contemporary musical theatre feel, but is inspired by the writings of composers of the period, including Elgar, Ravel, Debussy and Grainger.
Having begun work on the piece in 2002, Rutherford and Drury presented two private readings of successive drafts (at the London Coliseum with the English National Opera in 2005 and at the Sydney Opera House in 2012) and one workshop, all of which provided invaluable reworking notes and feedback from the invited audience.
The piece was specifically written for a small/medium scale intimate venue and received it's premiere at the Hayes Theatre Company to present the World Premiere of the project in the new Hayes Theatre, in Potts Point, Sydney, opening in November 2014.
The piece was directed by Neil Rutherford (see Biographies) and starred Australia’s leading musical theatre artists: NANCYE HAYES, BLAKE BOWDEN, CHLOE DALLIMORE, ROSS HANNAFORD, CHRISTIE SULLIVAN, TONY COGIN, PHILIP LOWE and DAVID BULTERS.
The production was musically directed by PETER RUTHERFORD, accompanied by the SIRRIUS ENSEMBLE, orchestrated by LEON FERRITHURD and designed by LUTHER FORINDER.
An Instrumental Suite of the music from Beyond Desire was commissioned by the SIRRIUS QUARTET and remains in their repertoire.
Future productions are in discussion for the UK, America and South Africa
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