Brisbane Festival and Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) will stage the world premiere season of BANANALAND, a musical comedy by two of Australia’s most talented contemporary composers and featuring a stellar cast and creative team.
The hilarious and uplifting BANANALAND created by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall, officially opens on 20 September in QPAC’s Playhouse as part of Brisbane Festival, running until 1 October 2023.
The talented BANANALAND cast comprises; Max McKenna (Muriel’s Wedding The Musical, Jagged Little Pill) playing Ruby Semblance, Georgina Hopson (Phantom of the Opera on Sydney Harbour, Jagged Little Pill) as Karen Semblance, Joe Kalou (Hi-5, The Book of Mormon) playing Seb Kale, Maxwell Simon (Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Muriel’s Wedding The Musical) in the role of Ex, Dave Eastgate (Comedy Central’s Ronnie Chieng: International Student, Muriel’s Wedding The Musical) as Ron Delbridge, Amber McMahon, (North by North West, Dance Nation) playing Mimsi Borogroves, Jessie Jam Jar, Witney Walkman and others and Chris Ryan (Come Rain Or Come Shine, King Kong) as Stephen King, Wade Sewage, Pikelets the Cat and others.
A celebration of the glorious absurdity of following an impossible dream, BANANALAND features a knockout score by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall – the award-winning song writing team behind Muriel’s Wedding The Musical and multiple platinum selling albums.
The all-new musical comedy is directed by industry giant Simon Phillips, internationally renowned for his work on large-scale musicals including Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Ladies in Black and Muriel’s Wedding The Musical, and famed for his stunning visual style and innovative staging.
Brisbane Festival Artistic Director Louise Bezzina:
Brisbane Festival has a long and cherished history of championing new work and was delighted to once again partner with QPAC to bring BANANALAND to life.
We are in an exciting pre-production phase of this brand-new Festival commissioned work.
The incredible team of experienced professionals, both on and off stage, are blowing us all
We can’t wait for audiences to experience the story-telling talent of Kate and Keir and the on stage powerhouse performances by the amazing BANANALAND cast as part of Brisbane Festival.
QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas:
Investing in creating new Australian work and nurturing Queensland talent was at the heart of QPAC and central to a long-term partnership with Brisbane Festival.
Kate, Keir and Simon have such a breadth of talent between them, and Australian audiences have already experienced the wonder of this creative trio with their incredibly successful collaboration on Muriel’s Wedding The Musical.
We’re pleased to be working with them again to help bring this endearing and very Australian story to life on our Playhouse stage:
As a performing arts centre for all of Queensland, it is important for us to support our own artists and creatives in sharing stories that are relatable and engaging. It is especially exciting to be part of a work that reflects Queensland’s sense of humour, our unique take on life and even features a real-life Queensland town.
She and Keir looked forward to returning to QPAC after bringing their powerful one-woman opera, The Call, presented by Opera Queensland, to Brisbane Festival in 2022.
It has been exhilarating creating a completely new Australian musical from the ground up. With renowned Director Simon Phillips at the helm, we have assembled a dream team of the most talented actors, musicians and designers. To be able to achieve this in our hometown of Brisbane has been particularly thrilling.
Lou Bezzina and Brisbane Festival’s vision and ongoing commitment to create new original work is inspiring, and we are incredibly privileged to be a part of that.
He was thrilled to work again with the music powerhouse duo. “I thought the contribution Kate and Keir made with their music and lyrics for Muriel’s Wedding was inestimable; when I heard they were working together on an original work, I couldn’t wait to get involved. It’s been a complete joy – smart, left-field and hilarious – they really are a bright light in the world of musical theatre. And the cast is an absolute dream, every one of them.
BANANALAND follows the life of Ruby Semblance, a 21-year-old idealist and her unintentionally hilarious protest band Kitty Litter. Ruby believes in art, music and angry choreography and is the lead singer/songwriter of Kitty Litter. Not Kitty Litter ‘the band’ mind you – according to Ruby, they are an “Onstage Conceptual Art / Music Oriented Happening”.
The band, Kitty Litter has been together for four years, has played five hundred shows, but only has one fan.
One fateful day Kitty Litter takes the stage to be greeted by a sold-out audience… of small children. It turns out its furious protest song “Bananaland” has accidentally become a hit on the kids’ music charts!
Is Kitty Litter destined to become the next Wiggles? Spoiler: yes. And it’s a total delight as the audience witness them rail against this destiny. Does Kitty Litter allow themselves to be consumed with the notion of ‘selling out’ or do they buy into their accidental ‘kids’ band’ fame?
Theatre goers should note that BANANALAND is not to be confused with a kid’s show. The Kitty Litter to kids’ band journey is a rollercoaster romp full of heart, music, comedy, pathos and lovable characters… with plenty of ‘choice’ words and cheeky ‘adult-friendly’ content thrown in to make this unlike any musical audiences have seen before.
An uplifting and irreverent musical comedy, with a hook-filled score, BANANALAND is by turns razor sharp and big-hearted. A tribute to the glorious absurdity of following an impossible dream and a celebration of live performance.
Composed by Kate Miller-Heidke and written by Keir Nuttall, BANANALAND is directed by Simon Phillips with lighting design by Ben Hughes and set and costumes by Simone Romaniuk.
BANANALAND’s world premiere season plays in QPAC’s Playhouse from 16 September to 1 October 2023.
Venue: Playhouse, QPAC
Date: 16 Sept- 01 Oct 2023
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