A globally successful movie and smash hit musical adaptation prove that this iconic Australian work is anything but terrible. The story of Muriel Hislop and her nuptial ambitions is now as embedded in local folklore as the story of Miranda lost at Hanging Rock. When Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical made its debut at the end of 2017, the response was so overwhelming that the production is being remounted less than two years later. With a revamped script by PJ Hogan, original songs by husband and wife team Keir Nuttall and Kate Miller-Heidke, and of course, the eternal magic of ABBA, this show is as warm and delightful as a cup of tea and a lamington.
“Aside from it being one of the most iconic stories in Australian pop culture history, it’s also just incredibly funny, incredibly moving, it’s deeply saddening and it’s also just about the bonds of female friendship,” says Natalie Abbott who scored the much coveted role of Muriel over a field of hundreds of hopeful auditioners.
“It’s a dream come true,” she says. Abbott prepared diligently, watching the movie, the documentary, and interviews with Toni Collette, though she’s very clear she doesn’t intend to imitate.
“[I’m] definitely bringing my own experiences and my own quirks and whatever to the role,” she insists. Abbott feels a special affinity with Muriel as they are both coastal girls who moved to a big city to escape their lives.
“I can relate to her on a personal level,” she says. “She’s not sort of like your leading lady ingenue character; she’s flawed, she’s incredibly flawed. She’s a bigger girl who makes terrible, terrible mistakes and says awkward things and is just awkward and she makes bad choices. And everyone’s like that, everyone can relate to that.”
Until Sep 1. Sydney Lyric, 55 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont. $59-$185+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.sydneylyric.com.au
By Rita Bratovich