Emma Pursey

Australian Stage's Amy Hyslop interviews Emma Pursey about ‘Til Death Do Us Part, a Brides of Frank production - part of BF09 UNDER THE RADAR, Brisbane Festivals 16 day curated fringe festival.

Emma PurseyAmy: So let’s start with the all important question – will there be booze at the show?
Emma: Traditionally The Brides have performed in a cabaret style set up with a bar set up inside the theatre and there have been short intervals between the Brides pieces allowing for boozing in-between – but this new version of ‘Til Death Do Us Part is now one hour of fast-paced, action-packed absurdity from beginning to end – with no time for a quick trip to the (non-existent) bar. Though due to the nature of the work, I can certainly say that a beverage or 5 before the show will pleasantly enhance the inherent hilarity, ridiculousness and surreal extremes that are the comedic hallmarks of The Brides of Frank. (The Verve Café located downstairs from the theatre will fulfill this pre-show recommendation for you perfectly).

Amy: Fab! Ok moving on… So the show (‘Til Death Do Us Part) has attained legendary status in Brissie. You’ve had sell-out seasons at The Powerhouse in 05 and 07. Having seen all the shows in their various reincarnations what can we expect this time around? More sleaze? More glamour? A little bit of both perhaps?
Emma: Well, as mentioned before, we’ve streamlined the show to just one hour with no interval. We’ve been able to do this by having the formidable talents of Mr Sandro Colarelli added to the mix. He plays Frank, of Frank’s Fandango Funeral Palour for the Ill-fated. Rather than the variety show format of the former shows, we now have a through-line narrative involving Frank and his mysterious dreams and schemes. In terms of ‘more’ of everything; every time the Brides return, we turn the volume up on all of the above…MORE is one of the Brides’ favourite words.

Amy: I hear that Frank himself will be making an appearance. Do tell.
Emma: Yes! Frank exists, it’s true. But nothing is what it seems with his character – typically. Sandro Colarelli, who is a fantastic actor and singer has been a Brides fan for a long time – and when we were looking to create this new, streamlined version of the show, when we all conceded that we needed ‘a Frank’ to achieve this, on the first mention of Sandro’s name we all leapt with glee into the air with a unanimous, YES! And, the rest is history as they say… A friend of ours coined a phrase to describe our genre: Precision Camp. I think she’s right on the money and stylistically speaking, Sandro fits in perfectly.

Amy: So the show has been accused of being “the best and worst” of pop culture. That can only be taken as a compliment. Am I right?
Emma: Absolutely! We all love to hate and hate to love what is our popular culture. We have all had moments where we scream with equal delight and horror at a retrospective view of that which was the zeitgeist of any given time in our popular culture history (cue pictures of 50s housewife advertisements, big eighties hair or the ubiquitous saxophone solo). With a bit of time and distance, we can all look back at what turned us on (or indeed off) in any given era and enjoy parodies of them – which is at the same time an homage. The Brides love taking those things, and then bending them in strange directions…you can take what we do at face value, or you can go deeper (depending on how much you’ve had to drink…)

Amy: So what next for the Brides?
Emma: After running the new version of the show here in the Under The Radar 2009 program, which will allow the opportunity for us to play with and explore this new format – we are aiming for interstate. We have interest from significant venues in both Sydney and Melbourne. So, all things going to plan, we will be shocking and enthralling audiences all over OZ in the next year or two. This show has had many phases of development over many years to get to this point – and I think developing works slowly and over long periods of time is incredibly valuable, and as a result, I believe we are in the final stages of achieving what we want with this show.

'Til Death Do Us Part opens Saturday 26 September at the Sue Benner Theatre. Further information»

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