By Jeremy Rochow
Last updated on: November 16, 2018 at 10:32 am
Adelaide, prepare to be wowed - the stage adaption of Alfred’s Hitchcock’s North by Northwest is coming to the Adelaide Festival Centre from December 29. And who better to chat to us about the 1959 classic thriller than one of its stars, Adelaide’s very own Amber McMahon. Words: Jeremy Rochow
How would you describe North by Northwest?
Well, it’s basically the sprawling film plot crammed into two hours on stage. It’s a very faithful adaptation of the Hitchcock film – there’s thrills, romance and old-school charm.
It follows [New York executive] Roger Thornhill, as he’s chased across America by Russian spies in a case of mistaken identity.
Do you think the audience’s nostalgia from the original film creates a buzz around the show?
Absolutely. I think it’s one of the most pleasurable things for the audience coming into the theatre. Many people have romantic connections to this film and it’s just as beautiful on stage.
We have an ensemble cast of 12, and the cinematic sequences are handled with fantastic theatrical flair.
I think it’s a really ingenious adaptation that very much captures the spirit of the film.
Are you excited to play Eve Kendall in front of family and friends in Adelaide?
I think it’ll be lovely. There’s a level of transformation that goes on for that role, and friends and family who’ve already seen the show in Melbourne say that they can’t see any of me in it, which is great.
[Eve’s] mysterious, sharp and understated, and there’s a beautiful duality to her. She’s torn between her work and Roger, but she can’t let anything break that cool exterior.
Is it fun playing a role set in the 1950s?
It’s a beautiful world to be in, and it really transports you back in time. The show starts and we’re plunged into the world of 1959, and it feels like it.
Once the show starts it goes like the clappers. You really feel like you’re part of that beautiful period.
What’s been the most challenging part of playing the role?
Every show has its challenges, but there really fun to work on. The old-fashioned Trans-Atlantic American accents no longer exist. Particularly Eve who has this little idiosyncratic lilt to her accent, so it’s lovely to work on that.
The accent required dexterity and that’s part of the charm and joy of acting in productions like this.
You flex different acting muscles, and it’s fulfilling and exciting because you can change the way you sound so dramatically.
There are also these great little performance challenges, and it’s a very physical show so you’re running around in stilettos, which is great fun. But, you’ve got to work up the muscles for it.
Are there any surprises in the production you can tell samotor readers about?
It’s tough to beat those classic iconic sequences like the crop duster and Mount Rushmore scenes, but I think you should tell your readers they’re handled with great flare and they’re really fun moments of the production.
8 QUICK QUESTIONS
Where did you grow up?
Favourite SA holiday destination?
I love Kangaroo Island, but because it requires a bit more time, and I’m only usually back for a little bit, I think it would have to be McLaren Vale.
Favourite SA restaurant?
In the city, I love Osteria Oggi and Rigoni’s on Leigh St.
Brighton of course.
Best place for coffee?
Coffee Branch on Leigh St.
Port Adelaide or Adelaide Crows?
I’ve never really followed football so probably the worst person to ask – pass.
Best SA icon?
There’s so many to choose from. Produce wise would be Penfolds Wines or Coffin Bay Oysters. Then from people, I think Maggie Beer or Peter Goldsworthy.
What do you miss most about SA while you’re travelling?
Friends and family mostly, but there’s a great ease to Adelaide that I miss, and its true sense of hospitality.