Writer Aphra Behn
Director Eamon Flack
Set & Costume Designer Mel Page
Lighting Designer Matt Scott
Composer & Sound Designer Steve Toulmin
Dramaturg Charlotte Bradley
Movement Director Scott Witt
Associate Designer Chloe Greaves
Andre de Vanny
1 July – 6 August 2017
Lost in a maze of masquerade and revelry, a ratbaggy gang of exiled cavaliers plunge into the steamy depths of Spanish occupied Naples at carnival-time. They fall into the usual traps of thwarted love and mistaken identity while causing merry havoc across the town.
They are led in their debauchery by Willmore (Toby Schmitz), the eponymous Rover, who was thought to be inspired by the infamous John Wilmot, a notorious playboy of the seventeenth century. He’s beyond rakish, but appears to have met his match in the beguiling and witty Hellena (Taylor Ferguson). Shame she’s a nun. Meanwhile Angelica Bianca (Nikki Shiels), the most glorious courtesan in Europe, has fallen hard for Willmore and is set on revenge for his romantic betrayal.
Aphra Behn is widely considered the first woman to make a successful career from playwriting. When The Rover premiered in 1677, it was an absolute sensation. Audiences knew only too well who Willmore mirrored, and the King’s mistress, Elizabeth Barry, played Hellena. The play fell out of favour for a few centuries, considered a little too coarse for polite society, but was rediscovered in the 1980s and is now considered one of the great ‘battle of the sexes’ comedies.
Eamon Flack has proven his mettle on many a Shakespearean comedy (Twelfth Night or What You Will, As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), here he turns to Shakespeare’s contemporary with his trademark joie de vivre and a cast that is an embarrassment of riches.
Schmitz returns to the Belvoir stage after several years absent working on the TV series Black Sails, he’ll bring his pirate swagger to this swashbuckling romp. His band of merry conspirators includes Gareth Davies (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, As You Like It), Andre de Vanny (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, The Doctor Blake Mysteries ABC1), Leon Ford (Old Man), and Nathan Lovejoy (Hamlet).
Ferguson made her mark with her Belvoir debut in 2013’s Miss Julie and we’re thrilled to have her back for The Rover and Ghosts in September. Shiels returns after delighting us in Twelfth Night or What You Will while Elizabeth Nabben (Othello Bell Shakespeare) and Megan Wilding make their Belvoir debuts. Kiruna Stamell returns to Australia after making her name on screen and stage in the UK in hit shows like Life’s Too Short and East Enders.
‘I want to do something wild and high-energy. And this is a sexy, dangerous play. Its honesty about the battle between men and women for power is striking given it is over three and a half centuries old,’ says director Flack. Join us this winter for hot night in the theatre.
Notes for Editors
Previews 1, 2 & 4 July
Opening 5 July
Unwaged 2pm 3 August
Tickets* Full $72, Senior $62, Conces. $49
*Ticket prices can be dynamically adjusted either up or down without notice. This can apply to a small number of tickets in response to demand for a specific performance date or time.
Box Office 02 9699 3444
Hero image by Daniel Boud – download
For media information and interviews contact Elly Baxter
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