Anna McGahan to star in lusty ‘modern masterpiece’ Closer

The actor and author Anna McGahan is one of our finest exports but everyone is pleased she is back in Brisbane and about to star in La Boite’s first production of 2024.

Mar 28, 2024, updated Mar 28, 2024
Anna McGahan stars in La Boite's first production for 2024, Closer.

Anna McGahan stars in La Boite's first production for 2024, Closer.

Creative types used to leave Brisbane in droves, but in recent years people have returned. Like the actor and author Anna McGahan.

For us and McGahan, her return home in 2021 has been fruitful. It has allowed her to reconnect with her hometown, family and friends and has spurred creativity and her writing career.

McGahan, 35, is the author of Metanoia, a kind of spiritual memoir that was critically acclaimed when it was published in 2019. Her next book, Immaculate, a novel, won her the prestigious The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award in 2023.

Being back in Brisbane is good for her work, obviously. The former Brisbane Girls Grammar School student has had a very successful career on the stage and screen and has appeared in series including House Husbands, The Doctor Blake Mysteries and more recently, Darby and Joan on ABC-TV. She has more screen work in the offing, which she cannot talk about right now.

Meanwhile, she’s a bit busy rehearsing a new play for La Boite, but even so she’s plotting a new book, too, as she prepares to take the stage in Closer, La Boite’s first production for 2024.

Closer is a cult classic, an unflinching and provocative exploration of truth, lust, desire and betrayal by celebrated British playwright Patrick Marber.

This year marks 20 years since the release of the popular film adaptation starring Hollywood greats Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, Jude Law and Clive Owen. It is recommended for audiences aged 15+ and contains strong sexual themes, violence, discussions of death and explicit language, if that helps.

This new stage production features an all-star Queensland cast – Anna McGahan, Kevin Spink, Colin Smith and Sophia Emberson-Bain. It is directed by La Boite’s artistic director Courtney Stewart, who has a few things in common with McGahan.

For one thing, Stewart returned to Brisbane to further her career, which is nice. They are also mums in their mid-30s. How does that help?

“It’s wonderful to have another mother of young kids in the rehearsal room,” McGahan says. “So, when I say I’ve got to do school pickup she just says, go. It’s wonderful to be working with her. She’s a director of national standing.”

Closer follows the lives of out-of-towner Alice, photographer Anna, obituary writer Dan and dermatologist Larry over several years as they meet, bond, separate and move on. Described as “bruising and beautiful”, the dark comedy offers a confronting reality about how adults approach relationships and explores the inevitable fall-out when we cross the lines between love and lust.

Stewart describes the work as a “modern masterpiece”.

“On its premiere in 1997, Closer won Olivier, Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards and has since been performed in more than 200 cities across the world, including at La Boite 24 years ago,” Stewart says.

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“This play is at the top of every actor’s bucket list and we have assembled a dream cast of Queensland greats for this brand new in-the-round production. It’s a particular thrill to welcome Anna McGahan back to La Boite, 13 years after she stole hearts – and a Matilda Award – for her mainstage debut in La Boite’s iconic production of Julius Caesar.”

McGahan, who plays rather appropriately a woman called Anna, says she is thrilled to be working with such a talented cast.

“I have long admired the work of much-loved Brisbane actors Kevin Spink and Colin Smith and am excited to work with them for the first time,” she says. “And I know Sophia Emberson-Bain will be blistering in her second La Boite production following her role in Prize Fighter.”

McGahan first saw Closer in a production at Metro Arts in Brisbane.

“That was years ago,” she says. “I was gobsmacked. I didn’t know theatre could be so articulate and confronting. The characters in this play say the things we are too afraid to say and there is something cathartic about that. You want to see people on stage who are worse than you. Then you can say – I’m bad but not that bad.”

Closer plays at La Boite’s Roundhouse Theatre, Kelvin Grove, April 4-20.

This article is republished from InReview under a Creative Commons licence. Read the original article.

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