Hitchcock thriller returns to stage

North by Northwest at Sydney's Lyric Theatre

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THE ORIGINAL: Cary Grant in the classic movie North by Northwest.

THE ORIGINAL: Cary Grant in the classic movie North by Northwest.

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The stage adaptation of classic spy thriller North by Northwest is returning to Sydney.

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Years before the James Bond films there was North by Northwest - the debonair, witty and captivating thriller that will have Sydney theatre audiences on the edge of their seats.

Following sell out seasons in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, the UK and Toronto, the triumphant stage adaption of Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest will play an exclusive limited season at Sydney Lyric Theatre from March 9.

Boldly re-imagined for the stage combining the magic of film and theatre, this incredible production of Hitchcock's gripping comedy of suspense will star David Campbell as Roger O. Thornhill the suave advertising executive and man on the run. Campbell is one of Australia's most popular entertainers, now returning to the stage in the role made famous by Cary Grant in the 1939 classic.

The singer, actor, television and radio presenter has dazzled audiences over the years with his dynamic performances, as Johnny O'Keefe in Shout! and, more recently, his Helpmann Award-winning portrayal of Bobby Darin in the hit musical Dream Lover.

"As a fan of the movie and of Simon and Carolyn, it was a no brainer to say yes to this remarkable production. This show has to be seen to be believed. I am thrilled to be working with this dynamite cast and it really is exciting to be involved in live theatre at a time where it should be well and truly celebrated," Campbell said.

REMAKING A CLASSIC: David Campbell stars in North by Northwest. Photo: Daniel Boud

REMAKING A CLASSIC: David Campbell stars in North by Northwest. Photo: Daniel Boud

Joining Campbell are acclaimed Australian actors including Helpmann Award winners Amber McMahon returning in the role as femme fatale Eve Kendall, beloved stage and screen actor Bert LaBonte as Vandamm and theatre veteran Genevieve Lemon as Mrs Thornhill.

Playing a myriad of characters throughout the production are Nicholas Bell, Berynn Schwerdt, Dorje Swallow, Kaeng Chan, Lachlan Woods, Sharon Millerchip, Tony Llewellyn Jones and Wadih Dona.

Adapted for the stage by Carolyn Burns and directed by Simon Phillips, North by Northwest has every twist, every thrill and every hairbreadth escape from Hitchcock's original genius work in this stunning stage production.

Clever set design, dynamic projections and an instantly recognisable score bring the film adaptation to life. From the skyscraper canyons of New York City to the Black Hills of South Dakota, drunken car rides down twisting roads, a love affair on a train, to the famous cliffhanger ending on Mount Rushmore, all is ingeniously recreated live on stage.

Director Simon Phillips said: "I'm delighted that Sydney audiences will finally get to enjoy North by Northwest, following in the footsteps of the rest of the Australia, Canada and the UK. This production is particularly dear to my heart - it's a show-bag of all the things I enjoy about the theatre, both high and low tech, with a company of actors demonstrating their dazzling versatility and prowess. It's a particular pleasure here in Sydney to be reunited with my dear colleague David Campbell, whose innate theatrical savoir-faire is perfectly suited to the imperturbable Roger O. Thornhill, and the magnificent Amber McMahon, whose smouldering Eve Kendall melts his superficial heart. This is both a tribute and a playful deconstruction of a glorious piece of classic cinema that remains one of the smartest films of all time."

Roger O. Thornhill's uneventful life is turned upside down when he is thrust into a world of espionage, romance and murder.

Abducted by thugs who insist he is a government agent named George Kaplan, the harried New York exec is hunted by ruthless spies in a break-neck journey involving the Feds, crop-dusting planes, a blonde femme fatale and a cliff-hanger that has to be seen to be believed.

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