Noël Coward’s ménage à trois masterpiece a magnificent finale to Queensland Theatre Company’s Season 2013


Triple the action on stage with Design for Living from 19 October


The story: Gilda loves Otto, and it’s entirely mutual. But Gilda is rather fond of Leo as well. Leo adores Gilda – but come to think of it, Leo and Otto have a bit of history, too. So which of them will pair off, and who’ll be left out in the cold? Anything goes, it seems, when you’re an artistic type slumming it in a garret in 1930s Paris. Noël Coward’s subtle comedy Design for Living was scandalously risqué when it was written, painting a vibrant picture of the machinations of a muddled ménage-à-trois. Are this trio freewheeling, footloose bohemians, or despicable, amoral degenerates? What’s that all-too-common comment on relationships: “It’s complicated?” This one just happens to be rather more complicated than most.


Noël Coward’s famous and scandalously risqué play Design for Living will close Queensland Theatre Company’s season 2013 from October 19 to November 10 at the Playhouse at QPAC.


This sizzling season finale stars a brilliant cast including Jason Klarwein, Kellie Lazarus and Tama Matheson as the three leads, together with stage doyenne Carol Burns, Trevor Stuart, Andrea Moor, Bryan Probets and Fez Faanana. 


It’s been an enthralling and exciting Season 2013 from Queensland Theatre Company with one of the best saved for last. Kellie Lazarus as Gilda (Road to the She Devils Salon), Tama Matheson as Leo (The Tempest) and Jason Klarwein as Otto (A Streetcar Named Desire) take the lead roles to form Noël Coward’s intricately woven threesome based on the sexy, boundary -pushing 1930s play.


Kellie, Tama and Jason are joined by an all-star cast including Queensland’s stage royal Carol Burns, Fez Faanana (Flipside Circus, Polytoxic), Trevor Stuart (As You Like It), Bryan Probets (The Great Gatsby) and Andrea Moor who earlier this year directed QTC’s hugely successful production of Venus in Fur. The cast of Design for Living will be directed by QTC Artistic Director, Wesley Enoch.


With classical backgrounds in Shakespearean scripts and complex performance styles, Kellie, Tama and Jason are perfectly cast for the witty, fast-paced dialogue of Design for Living. Kellie and Jason – real-life husband and wife as well as on-stage lovers – are also at the helm of the famous Grin & Tonic Theatre Troupe, Brisbane’s well-known arts incubator; with Tama also director of classical productions at Opera Australia and 4MBS FM. Their experienced and triangular dynamic together on stage is natural and skillful; a treat for all audiences.


Bryan Probets has recently acted alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest names in this year’s movie blockbuster The Great Gatsby with Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan. He delves into the same era with his performance as the wealthy New York gentleman Henry Carver in Design for Living. Andrea Moor is an Australian acting powerhouse with a long and impressive history of successful performances  including roles in Home and Away, All Saints, Heartbreak High and A Country Practice as well as films like Oscar and Lucinda, Army Wives and Over the Hill. Andrea directed the acclaimed and sold out Venus in Fur and will play the dual roles of Henry Carvers’ wife Helen Carver, and Ms Birbeck, the newspaper reporter. The fabulous Fez Faanana plays the feisty Miss Hodge/ Matthew. Based in Brisbane Fez has an extensive background in performance art through circus, dance and theatre. He is the co-founder of Polytoxic Dance Company and will bring precision comedic timing and stage flair to the roles. Acting royalty Carol Burns plays the wealthy Grace Torrence from New York. Carol has paved an incredibly successful career in film, television and theatre. In 2012, she starred as Queen Elizabeth in QTC’s acclaimed Elizabeth: Almost by Chance a Woman; and of course her marquee role was as Frankie Doyle in Prisoner.


Trevor Stuart stars as Ernest, Gilda’s art dealer husband who she lives with in New York. Having starred in the Secret Death of Salvador Dali and As You Like It, Trevor is an experienced entertainer whose presence on stage adds depth to the mixed up ménage-à-trois.


Design for Living comments on contemporary ideas of relationships and how these ideas have transformed through the decades to allow people to design their own relationship structures,” said QTC Artistic Director Wesley Enoch.  “It’s a witty comedy, a wordplay that features incredibly quick and smart dialogue between the characters which suits Kellie, Tama and Jason perfectly with their backgrounds in analysing complex scripts. They’re classical actors who bring their intellectual capacity to the roles beautifully,” said Enoch.


Design for Living, written in the 1930s depicts a ménage-à-trois style performance which is flirtatious and sexy causing it to raise many eyebrows when it was first written and performed. For this reason, it premiered on Broadway, New York in 1933 before returning to the London stage in 1939. QTC’s comedic reenactment with quick paced, witty repartee is a fitting bookend for the blockbuster season of challenging, and thought-provoking theatre in 2013.


WHAT:                                 Design for Living presented by Queensland Theatre Company

Where:                                 Playhouse, QPAC

When:                                   24 October – 10 November (previews commence 19 October)

How:                                     Tickets at or phone 136 246 *Please note booking fees apply


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