By David Hare   

Freely adapted from
Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde

Sigrid Thornton
Marcus Graham

Direction: Simon Philips 
Design: Steven Curtis 
Lighting Design: Matt Scott 
Composer: Ian Graandage 

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Sig receives  best actress Mo Award for "The Blue Room"

- See Sun Herald Article Below

See Sydney Morning Herald Review Below

Sell-out seasons in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane! 

“The Blue Room” starring one of Australia's best-loved and most popular stars, Sigrid Thornton and the talented Marcus Graham. 

Presented by International Concert Attractions  “The Blue Room” under the direction of Simon Phillips, the Artistic Director of Melbourne Theatre Company; is a sensational, witty and contemporary version of Arthur Schnitzler¹s controversial and banned 19th century diversion “La Ronde”. In this modern reincarnation as “The Blue Room”, David Hare’s adaptation follows the exploits of ten intertwined couples linked by a string of sexual encounters. It follows the romantic, and sometimes not so romantic, exploits of the couples - thus revealing the frail and human desire for intimacy. 

Following the sell-out West End and Broadway seasons, David Hare¹s sharply modern version sees these ten characters, ten lovers in ten scenes all played brilliantly by the same two actors - Sigrid Thornton and Marcus Graham. It is a virtual merry-go-round of love, sex and betrayal!! One thing for certain, Thornton and Graham are “truly red hot” in “The Blue Room” the Melbourne Herald Sun noted: “it’s pure gold”.

"La Ronde has always been a favourite play of mine, not only because of its amusing conceit ­ a daisy chain of sexual liaisons ­ but also because there are few plays that capture so perfectly the irreconcilable tension between sex and love," said MTC's Artistic Director Simon Phillips.

Simon Phillips has assembled an extraordinarily talented creative team which includes designer Stephen Curtis, composer Iain Grandage and lighting designer Matt Scott, winner of the 2003 Helpmann Award for Best Lighting. Sigrid Thornton, one of Australia’s best loved film and television actors, has starred in many films which are now regarded as classics of the Australian cinema including The Man from Snowy River and The Lighthorsemen. From the television mini- series All the Rivers Run that set Australian ratings history, to her most recent role as Laura in the highly popular ABC series SeaChange, Sigrid Thornton has earned the spot as Australia¹s most popular leading lady.

Marcus Graham, who graduated from the WA Academy of Performing Arts in the 1980s, has equally distinguished himself with many critically acclaimed performances. Marcus has worked with such prestigious companies as the Sydney and Melbourne Theatre Companies and the Bell Shakespeare Company. He has played in New York at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Black Swan Theatre and many TV productions and films. Most Australians know him from the hit TV Show, Good Guys, Bad Guys.

Please note this play contains nudity, strong language and sexual references.

Review Quotes

"From Thornton's first appearance as the sexy, tough yet fragile Irene
sitting on a bench smoking, you know you're in the company of a poised and
gifted actor" - Bryce Hallet, Sydney Morning Herald

"Thornton is in tremendous form" - Bryce Hallet, Sydney Morning Herald

"Thornton superbly conveys not only the need for affection but the
often-inevitable disenchantment that emerges when the intimate,
mutually-protective and loving moment is over" - Bryce Hallet, Sydney
Morning Herald

"Blue Room's pure gold" - Herald Sun

"Thornton, Graham red hot in the Blue Room" - The Age

"Thornton and Graham put in terrific performances... brilliant" - The Age

” constantly entertaining, filled with sad yet funny moments of reflection on the delusional nature of sex and desire” - The West Australian

”......reveals Graham and Thornton for the beautiful and talented people they are....”-The Age

“….it is a clever, funny and entertaining piece of theatre” – Stage Left

“What makes this show worth seeing are the performances. It’s an extremely demanding piece…Thornton and Graham put in terrific performances” – The Sunday Age

"Makes good fun of today’s sexual bad manners." - London Evening Standard

"In the jungle of the city, sex is a driving force, a commodity and a need … the erotic drive in action - amoral and ruthless" - The Sunday Times London

"Wonderful, superb... Unmissable" - The Daily Express

"...reveals Graham and Thornton for the beautiful and talented people they are" - The Sydney Morning Herald

Sigrid, Art & The Blue Room

Now Sydney is Sold on a Sizzling Sigrid
By Angela Cuming
September 1, 2003
The Sun-Herald

Sydney had its first taste of the much-hyped play The Blue Room when it opened to a sellout crowd at the Theatre Royal on Saturday night.

The play, which stars Sigrid Thornton and Marcus Graham, is billed as a "merry-go-round of love, sex and betrayal" and is famous for its nude scenes.

The current Australian production has also become well-known for attracting a crowd, with the show playing before sell-out audiences in Melbourne before setting up camp in Sin City.

Those lured to Saturday night's opening performance included singer and Australian Idol judge Marcia Hines, television presenter Deborah Hutton, singer David Campbell, radio star Amanda Keller, Sydney Lord Mayor Lucy Turnbull and husband Malcolm, actors Tony Martin and Rachael Blake, All Saints stars Tammy Macintosh and Jenni Baird and White Collar Blue's Don Hany.

After the play, a lucky few joined the cast for an after party at the Imperial Peking Harbourside restaurant.

Written by David Hare and directed by Simon Phillips, The Blue Room is based on Arthur Schnitzler's banned 19th-century play La Ronde.

It shot to fame in 1998 when Nicole Kidman starred in Sam Mendes's London production, which played to full houses every night.

One critic, so impressed with the Australian actress and her flesh-baring role, described Kidman as "pure theatrical Viagra".

Thornton, who starred in the popular ABC series SeaChange, and co-star Graham wowed audiences during their successful Melbourne run with strong and downright sexy performances.

Thornton, 42, plays several different characters in the play, including a prostitute, an au pair, an older married woman and a model.

Graham, 39, is seen on stage as different lovers, including a student and a philandering politician.

The role has seen Thornton transformed into a modern day sex goddess with a body to rival that of another famous sex symbol - supermodel Elle Macpherson.

The Body was set to star in a Sydney production of the play last February but did not get the chance to take off so much as a sock.

The show was cancelled before it opened because of poor ticket sales, with promoters blaming a sluggish economic climate.

But maybe Sydney would simply rather pay to see a different actress and a different body.

The Blue Room - Review by Bryce Hallet
September 1, 2003 - The Sydney Morning Herald

David Hare's sexual daisy chain comes alive skilfully and vigorously in the experienced hands of Sigrid Thornton and Marcus Graham.

The play, which premiered in London five years ago and achieved a kind of breathless notoriety, is not especially penetrating or deep but director Simon Phillips makes the series of coital vignettes a glossy, musical and shrewdly staged affair.

Hare's free adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler's La Ronde updates the love-making chain from Vienna in 1900 to contemporary London, a world in which the polite veneers afforded by status and class count for little in matters of desire and need, no matter how parlous or fleeting.

Hare playfully teases out many ironies and shams in the couplings, most tellingly and disconcertingly in the repressive scene involving the Married Woman (Emma) and the Politician (Charles), then in turn the less-shackled dalliance of Charles with the Model (Kelly).

Schnitzler's intriguing and neatly conceived idea works in the theatre due largely to the nature of the theatre itself and its essential contract between the spectator and participant. The Blue Room is itself a symbol of the theatre: its dreams, nightmares, possibilities and intrigues conjured in the dark.

Time, atmosphere and mood are crucial elements to the play's exploration of lust masquerading as love and sex transcending class divides or being seized upon as an escape from the emptiness or dullness of people's lives.

The cumulative picture created by Hare glimpses the hollowness at the core but the play, despite being deft and cleverly ironic, doesn't achieve the level of profundity it is striving for. There's a good reason for this: the plotless format and the insubstantial nature of the characters reduces people and feelings to something machine-like and soulless.

The effect is comically height- ened by the use of a large digital clock that counts out the seconds, occasionally the minutes, when the lights go out after some feisty or fumbling foreplay.

Obviously there's no shortage of nudity in the production but it's not gratuitous and such is the level of assurance by the actors that it's never anything but natural. Marcus Graham gets his big, playful moment in the shower while Sigrid Thornton is more cautiously revealed.

What rescues the play from being a too-neat and too-mechanical romp is the versatility and veracity of the performances by Thornton and Graham and the obvious level of trust between them.

From Thornton's first appearance as the sexy, tough yet fragile Irene sitting on a bench smoking, you know you're in the company of a poised and gifted actor - this even before she begins to exhibit her range and depth in parts which don't necessarily lend themselves to much.

The Politician baldly states that there are two kinds of women: the angel and the whore, but the playwright doesn't delve so much into this notion as he does the idea of the sexual aggressor and the submissive woman/victim.

In a number of the post-coital scenes, Thornton superbly conveys not only the need for affection but the often-inevitable disenchantment that emerges when the intimate, mutually-protective and loving moment is over. The abruptness can be brutal while the longing for a more lasting union can be hard to bear.

Thornton is in tremendous form as the teenager Irene and the Married Woman, particularly in the scene she shares with Graham's peculiarly awkward and humorously depicted Anton - a figure who starkly contrasts the other men, not least the smug, sermonising Charles and the obsequious, deluded game-player Malcolm - the Aristocrat of the piece.

He says to the Actress: "Do you think any of us is ever just one person? Don't you think we all change, all the time? With one person we're one person, and with another we're another." His words almost draw a blank from a woman whose livelihood depends on pretending to be someone she's not.

There's plenty of interest to be had from the tangle of sexual encounters and the audience being privy to hypocrisies and deceits.

Graham is a physically persuasive actor who, no matter the sketchiness of the roles, makes them vigorously memorable whether he's the pragmatic, sushi-eating and deludedly romantic cab driver Fred or the elitist, introspective and finally morose Malcolm when the chain ends at the beginning.

The Blue Room is a hugely entertaining and polished piece of theatre, and it's exciting to see such outstanding talent on stage.

Sigrid Thornton

In 2001, Sigrid made her professional stage debut with MTC in Betrayal . One of Australia's leading and best loved actresses, Sigrid Thornton has starred in many TV and film productions that are now regarded as milestones in the Australian industry. Her recent ABC series, SeaChange, broke all ratings records for the national broadcaster, becoming the No.1 drama show on national television. Her leading roles in The Man from Snowy River and the highly successful mini-series All the Rivers Run resulted in one of the first USnetwork series roles created for an Australian actress in the popular western series Paradise.

Sigrid was awarded the highly prestigious Cowboy Hall of Fame award for best TV contribution to Western Heritage for Stray Bullet, an episode of Paradise. She has also won numerous awards in Australia including Logie Awards, Sammy Awards and People's Choice Awards. Some of Sigrid's other extensive credits include The Lighthorsemen, 1915, Snapshot , The Last Outlaw, The Getting of Wisdom, Slate Wyn & Me , FJ Holden, the mini-series The Boy in the Bush co-starring Kenneth Branagh, Whipping Boy co-starring Temuera Morrison, The Far Country co-starring Michael York and Great Expectations - The Untold Story co-starring John Stanton for the ABC. Sigrid received a Mo Award for "best performance by an actress in a play" for her work on The Blue Room.

Sigrid has worked extensively behind the cameras on behalf of the film and television industry, the arts and various charities. Some of her activities have included chairing the Victorian Film and TV Taskforce, MC of the Nelson Mandela Reconciliation Concert, board member of the Commercial TV Production Fund, Australian Film Institute board member and Film Victoria board member. Sigrid continues to work extensively for children's charities and World Vision.


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