Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical

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Sep 09, 2016

by ALEX GREIG, Online Writer

Goodbye, Porpoise Spit. Hello, Sydney Theatre Company!

Muriel Heslop is making her Sydney Theatre Company debut in a production of Muriel’s Wedding adapted for the stage by the film’s original writer and director, PJ Hogan.

At the Thursday launch of its 2017 program the STC announced that Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical will open in November 2017. Also on the program is a stage production of George Orwell’s seminal novel 1984 and a romantic comedy by Black Comedy writer and actor Nakkiah Lui called Black is the New White.

Why it took 22 years for a stage version of Muriel’s Wedding to be conceived is puzzling. After all, its contemporaries Strictly Ballroom and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert were both stage hits. Maybe Mamma Mia nicked all the best Abba tunes?

The new musical features a Muriel updated for the modern age – she’s even mastered social media – but much remains the same. She flees Porpoise Spit for the bright lights of Sydney where she “ends up with everything she ever wanted – a man, a fortune and a million Twitter followers. That’s when things start to go really wrong.”

There’s an original score by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall, but never fear: ABBA classics also feature as they did so wonderfully in the film. How else would lines such as this make sense: “I used to sit in my room for hours and listen to ABBA songs. But since I’ve met you and moved to Sydney, I haven’t listened to one ABBA song. That’s because my life is as good as an ABBA song. It’s as good as Dancing Queen.”

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Toni Collette, the original Muriel, told SBS in 2014 that fans still remember her best for the role.

"People love that movie. They still want to talk about it. For people to still be talking about it 20 years later it's crazy in the best possible way. It completely changed my life. I wasn’t expecting it at all… It just opened everything up. I wouldn’t have a career if I didn’t do it.”

Click here for dates and ticket pricing.