Review | THE RISE AND DISGUISE OF ELIZABETH R (Sugary Rum Productions)

Updated: Feb 25, 2020

Starring a beloved Aussie icon in his most memorable role, this production by Sugary Rum Productions, in association with Hayes Theatre Co., sees the man himself reprise the role of Queen Elizabeth II in this brand new story.

Staged at the opulent Hayes Theatre, The Rise and Disguise of Elizabeth R features the hilarious Gerry Connolly as himself, the enduring monarch and a host of other figures he has a penchant for impersonating. This new story written by Connolly, Nick Coyle and Gus Murray sees Connolly come face-to-face with his royal alter ego as they ponder the potential end of their roles.

Shaun Rennie demonstrates his directorial prowess keeping the pace dynamic and engaging whilst ensuring that the whip-smart and ingeniously written comedy packs a powerful punch. Max Lambert’s original score is delightful and catchy, leaving us rattling off the melodies as we walk out the door.

Laura Murphy and Rob Mallett kept us on the edge of our seats with their unflinching energy and dynamism across their myriad roles. As for Connolly, we relished seeing him once again as the marvelous monarch but this time our joy came from the actor-character relationship that was portrayed with tenderness and heart.

The lighting (Trent Suidgeest) and set (Jeremy Allen) design were both aesthetically pleasing and in particular, used with great effect to create an atmosphere of classic English charm and then conversely, the feel of the Aussie outback.

In this production, we are given a window into something an audience rarely sees on the stage – the intimate relationship between an actor and their character. After four decades of playing the regal and revered Queen Elizabeth II, we see Connolly ponder the longevity and future of their relationship with depth and vulnerability. It reminds us that things always reach an inevitable end but knowing when that time will come is often blurry and uncertain. All we can do is live moment by moment, relish in the joy of the present and try not to let melancholic feelings of uncertainty hold us back from that.

Venue Hayes Theatre (Potts Point), 13th Feb to 1st March 2020

Director Shaun Rennie

Composer and Musical Director Max Lambert

Choreographer Leah Howard

Writers Gerry Connolly, Nick Coyle & Gus Murray |

Cover Image by Luke Roberts

Production Shots by Kate Williams

DISCLAIMER: This and all other reviews posted by A Millennial with an Opinion/JTA Official/Jessie Trompp are the honest personal opinions of a theatre-goer and are not reflective in any way of the opinions of others who have seen the production.

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