Lights go out at Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Good tale: Cate Debenham-Taylor and John Bowler Good tale: Cate Debenham-Taylor and John Bowler

A funny and piercing allegory of modern living and the effect of climate change will premiere in Richmond.

Australian playwright Stephen Sewell will host the UK debut of Its Just Stopped at the Orange Tree Theatre in February.

His last show, Myth, Propaganda and Disaster in Nazi Germany and Contemporary America, won more awards that any other play in Australian history.

His latest production tells the tale of Americans Franklin and Beth, whose life in their luxury Melbourne apartment is seductively comfortable.

But what would happen and what might come in from outside world if everything just stopped? No electricity means no computer, no coffee, no air-conditioning, no lift, no TV and the mobile is not charged.

At first the couple find it rather fun but as time passes they wonder what is happening 47 floors down on the streets.

The show shines a light of their values and what happens to them when the world faces cataclysmic change.

Directed by the Orange Tree’s artist in residence David Antrobus, the cast includes Cate Debenham-Taylor, Joseph Kloska, Emma Pallant and John Bowler, who played PC Roger Valentine in The Bill for six years.

In It Just Stopped Bowler plays a loud Australian, a part for which he has had to master the Aussie accent.

He says: “It’s completely bonkers. It’s a very funny satire on the way we live. It’s a comedic look at the way we depend on everything.

“It’s very dark in points but it’s very funny.”

Bowler appeared at the Orange Tree in Unrivalled Landscape and his theatre credits include Beauty and the Beast, A Patriot for Me, Much Ado About Nothing, The Merchant of Venice and The Danton Affair.

He is about to appear in the second series of WPC56 on BBC1.

He says: “This is the second time I have worked her at the Orange Tree. It’s a terrific space. I have come to see shows here for a long, long time. It’s an interesting place to be.

“It just has that connection with an audience right with you.”

It Just Stopped at the Orange Tree Theatre; Clarence Street, Richmond; February 5 to March 8; 7.45pm with Saturday matinees at 3pm; Tickets £12.50 to £22; Visit orangetreetheatre.co.uk or call 020 8940 3633.

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