TAKE a breath of fresh air – Ben Elton’s Gasp! is coming to Wanneroo’s Limelight Theatre this month.
Directed by Phil Bedworth, it is a modern re-working of Mr Elton’s original 1990 play Gasping updated for an Australian audience.
Australian mining company Lockheart Industries is looking for the next big idea to make the company millions and starts producing “designer air” with its revolutionary Suck-and-Blow machine.
As a result, air becomes a commodity, like fuel or food, and can be bought and sold according to market forces.
Mr Bedworth said it is a dark, satirical look at how the privatisation of the most basic human need can be influenced by big business and profit.
“Anyone who knows the work of Ben Elton will understand his writing is of such intellect, wit and observation that any performance of his works cannot be done without understanding the rhythm and nuances laced throughout it,’’ he said.
“Every word in the script has to be understood because none are there superfluously.
“As a satire like this demands, finding the right emphasis and timing for each line has to be carefully analysed to do it the justice it deserves.
“Thankfully, I have been smart enough to surround myself with incredible people on and off-stage who also understand these elements – the talent on display is amazing.”
First treading the boards in a 1990 high school production of Oliver Twist, Mr Bedworth didn’t take to the stage again until 2019 when he was cast as Dr Watson in An Evening with Sherlock Holmes at Limelight Theatre.
He has since appeared in the musical Rock of Ages and The Two of Us and as Sir Humphrey in Yes, Prime Minister at KADS Theatre – and has also played an evil psychopath in the film Fading Numbers.
“I saw the 2014 production of Gasp! at the Heath Ledger Theatre and loved it.
“It’s funny in a way that makes you take a very introspective view of your world in a manner that only Ben Elton’s work can.
“When I was contemplating a show to direct, I wanted to find something that was biting, funny, relevant and different.
“Gasp! immediately came to mind as a show that would be able to break the mould of what’s usually offered to theatre audiences.
“Being set in Australia means everyone who comes to see the show will find it enjoyable, while also providing plenty of food for thought.”
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