‘Cut Chilli’ continues Old Fitz hot streak

‘Cut Chilli’ continues Old Fitz hot streak
Image: Image supplied.

The roll of hot productions continues at the Old Fitz Theatre when in July the new comedy Cut Chilli opens.

The work is from the pen of Sri Lankan- Australian playwright Chenturan Aran and has already picked up awards for best new writing and received development work by major Australian theatre companies.

This production of Cut Chilli is under the direction of David Burrowes, co-founder of STUDIO NOCTURNA and is produced by New Ghost Theatre Company’s Lucy Clements and Emma Wright.

Cut Chilli tells the little known story of illegal adoptions from the broken island home of Sri Lanka at the end of the civil war.

“For me the play started off as a rich metaphor for my experiences as a brown boy in a predominately white country,” Chenturan Aran, playwright said.

“The unique experience of not being raised by your biological parents in your homeland is one of the rarest experiences you can have as a human being.”

Seen through the eyes of Jamie, who believes he was abandoned as a baby in Sri Lanka, at least that is the story that his mother Katherine has always told him

“He is told his skin colour is irrelevant to his identity and that he seamlessly belongs in the McKenzie family, however, he is constantly reminded by his environment that he is obviously different,” Aran said.

With the script developed from interviews with adoptees in Australia conducted by Aran, director David Burrowes also sees a lot of humour in the story.

“The play deals with quite serious issues and asks quite serious questions, but it is also very funny,” Burrowes said.

“But it is also a bit of a tragedy (as) these kids were adopted out of Sri Lanka with many of them stolen (and) adopted by parents who weren’t culturally equipped to prepare for that.”

A photo from rehearsals. Image supplied.

Cut Chilli‘s incredible cast

Cut Chilli has a cast that most theatrical production can only dream about, headed up by recent NIDA graduate Ariyan Sharma.

Of Indian descent, Cut Chilli will be one of Sharma’s first roles outside of the school where he performed in Sweeney Todd, Three Sisters and A Midsummer Night’s Dream among other productions.

Susie Lindeman has been on stages since the eighties, having forged a career across theatre and film, including playing Dolly in Merchant Ivory’s Academy Award and BAFTA winning film of Howard’s End, plus a residency at the Royal Court Theatre, London.

“We’ve been blessed with an incredible cast, but I am humbled to get to work with Susie and Noel,” Burrowes said.

“I think it speaks to the quality of Chen’s incredible script that we were able to attract them.”

“Susie is going to break people’s hearts with her role of Katherine,” Burrowes said.

Noel Hodda is well known in part due to his many roles on television and film, including All Saints, Blue Heelers and Water Rats.

“Noel is brilliantly funny as Jeff, the politically incorrect uncle with a heart of gold,” Burrowes said.

Hodda has also appeared in many theatrical productions across all of Sydney’s most prestigious companies, and has recently found another calling reading for audio books including The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

Nikki Sekar is a Sri Lankan born Australian who is a major interpreter of traditional South Indian dance and was movement director and choreographer in Belvoir’s recent production of Aurat Raj.

Born in Trinidad and Tobago and trained at WAAPA, Cut Chilli will be one of Kelsey Jeanell’s first roles on a Sydney stage.

“Ariyan and Kelsey are stage legends in the making, and seeing them all play together has been a joy,” Burrowes said.

Highly acclaimed for his roles in television shows including Les Norton, Paper Giants and Frayed, Brendan Miles is an accomplished actor who rounds out the family as Jamie’s dad Lee.

“The more stories get told, the more artists can experiment in tone and genre,” Aran said.

Cut Chilli is an irreverent comedy about a dysfunctional family hiding secrets at the dinner table.”

Cut Chilli at the Old Fitz from 5 July to 27 July
Old Fitz Theatre – 129 Dowling St, Woolloomooloo, NSW, 2011

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