VICTORIA, BC (August 7, 2014)…Can a smash hit from the London stage (circa 1863) be reborn as a 2014 Victoria Fringe Festival blockbuster? Dragon Monkey Theatre thinks yes.
Lady Audley’s Secret, a drama based on the bestselling novel by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, will offer Victoria theatre lovers a melodramatic exploration of “accidental bigamy.” Director Wendy Merk believes that festival goers will be delighted by the 150-year-old sensation.
And sensation is the operative word for this effort. Braddon was considered the queen of the “sensation” fiction that was all the rage in 1860s England. And while bigamy was a fashionable subject of general fascination in nineteenth-century England, in Braddon’s case her tale of the bigamous marriage of penniless governess Lucy Graham to the much older, wealthy Sir Michael Audley is a case of art imitating life. Braddon herself lived scandalously with her publisher, and had several children with him, though he was already married.
But the Victoria production is much more than a Victorian period piece. Set in the Fort Victoria of nineteenth-century Vancouver Island, Lady Audley’s Secret has been transformed into a comedic romp that promises not only melodrama, but cross-gender casting, fire dancing, and period music. “We have a very talented cast of Victoria stage veterans who are having great fun with this unique story, which is one of a small body of true melodramas,” says Merk. “Each character offers a wonderful opportunity. The secretive Lady Audley, her whip-wielding stepdaughter Alicia, the drunken, scheming Luke, who is host of the local public house, and his nemesis, the cigar-smoking hero Robert Audley—they’re all tremendous, really over the top, and we believe the audience will find them, and their story, hugely enjoyable.”
Merk first directed this play as a theatre student at the University of Victoria. Her recent directing credits include The Penelopiad, Othello, and Better Living. Dragon Monkey producer Lorene Cammiade, nominated by Monday Magazine as Best Actress for her performance in Rabbit Hole, will play the eponymous anti-heroine. The cast also includes theatre and musical veteran Gloria Snider, most recently seen in The Penelopiad, Timothy Kyle, who is well known to Victoria audiences as one of the Four Neat Guys, and Jennifer Doyle as the long-suffering wife of Luke the Drunkard (she was memorable as Tardy in Elizabeth Rex). The cast also features talented newcomer Michael Creekmore and Fringe veterans Graham Roebuck (Luke) and Corin Wrigley (Alicia), both of whom participated in last year’s Fringe offerings Something Like a War and The Occupied Mind of Mr. K. Piano underscoring will be provided by Lady Balderdash, also known as Janie Woods-Morris.
Lady Audley’s Secret will be playing at the Langham Court Theatre (805 Langham Court) at the following times:
Thu, Aug 21 • 6:15pm
Sat, Aug 23 • 4:30pm
Sun, Aug 24 • 6:45pm
Wed, Aug 27 • 8:00pm
Sat, Aug 30 • 6:00pm
Sun, Aug 31 • 12:30pm
Tickets are $9 for students & seniors and $11 for everyone else. They are available at the box office at Langham Court Theatre one hour before each performance.
Reminder: A Fringe Button is REQUIRED for each ticket holder. Buy a button ($6) at the door of any Fringe venue, or at the Ticket Rocket’s Fringe Central (Fisgard at Blanshard). You can’t buy them online. Don’t lose it, or you’ll have to buy another! Kids 12 and under don’t need Visa Buttons.
Reserve BY PHONE: Call the Ticket Rocket Fringe Hotline: 250-590-6291. On sale before the Fringe from 2PM – 6PM, Tues to Sat and Noon – 7PM daily during the Fringe. All advancetickets incur a $2 ticket surcharge.