Press Releases

Double Indemnity

18 Apr 2016

One of the greatest crime novels of our times is given new life thanks to a razor-sharp stage adaptation by award-winning writer Tom Holloway. Under the expert direction of Sam Strong, Double Indemnity promises twice the ordinary payout in passion and intrigue when it makes its world premiere on Friday 3 June at Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse.

With its pitch-perfect dialogue, ultimate femme fatale and the almost perfect crime, Double Indemnity is the undoubted masterpiece of James M Cain’s sensational thrillers of the thirties and forties.

Now, MTC brings a world premiere production to Melbourne’s stage with a stellar cast led by Claire van der Boom (Sisters of War) and Leon Ford (Private Lives), accompanied by Jessica Tovey (Wonderland), Richard Piper (Ghosts), Peter Kowitz (The Weir), Edwina Samuels (Wentworth), Lachlan Woods (North by Northwest).

Director Sam Strong said, ‘Some of my most cherished theatrical experiences have been collaborating with Tom Holloway as writer and director, so I’m delighted to be bringing one of our mutual favourite stories to life for Melbourne audiences. Tom’s adaptation of James M Cain’s classic novel captures the crackingly sharp dialogue and the evocative Californian Noir setting. But Tom has also added a layer of psychological complexity to the galloping edge-of-your-seat plot. This version of Double Indemnity will be a morality tale for an immoral age – a play that thrillingly dissects just how far we will go to get what we want. Devious, dangerous, compelling and sexy, the characters of Double Indemnity are a treat for actors and audiences alike.’

Insurance agent Walter Huff has nosed around the business long enough to smell a scam, so when he meets Phyllis Nirdlinger to talk about her husband’s insurance coverage he gets a perfumed whiff of trouble. But she has a persuasive way of putting things. Can’t a wife fix a little security for herself? After all, a beloved husband can suffer a fatal accident just as easily as an honest guy can fall hard for a dame who’s no good.

Tom Holloway and Sam Strong have a history of successful collaborations having worked together on the acclaimed productions of And No More Shall We Part and Red Sky Morning.

Tom Holloway is a multi-award-winning playwright whose work has been staged extensively both in Australia and Europe. His plays include Dead Centre, Beyond The Neck, Red Sky Morning, Don’t Say The Words, Love Me Tender, And No More Shall We Part, Fatherland, and Faces Look Ugly. He wrote the libretto for Make No Noise – an adaptation of the film The Secret Life of Words, produced by the Bavarian State Opera at the 2011 Munich Opera Festival, and collaborated with Matthew Lutton on a staging of Schubert’s Die Winterreise for ThinIce, Malthouse Theatre and the Brisbane International Festival the same year.

Sam Strong is the Artistic Director of Queensland Theatre Company, a role he took over in late 2015 after three years as Associate Artistic Director at MTC and, previously, three years as Artistic Director at Griffin Theatre in Sydney. He has been nominated for multiple Best Director and Best Production awards at the Helpmann Awards, Sydney Theatre Awards and Green Room Awards and won the 2013 Sydney Theatre Award for Best Direction of a Mainstage Play. His directing credits include The Weir, Endgame, The Sublime, The Speechmaker, Private Lives, The Crucible, Other Desert Cities and Madagascar (MTC); Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Sydney Theatre Company); Masquerade (Sydney Festival / Melbourne Festival / STCSA / Griffin); The Boys (Sydney Festival/Griffin); The Floating World, Between Two Waves, And No More Shall We Part and Speaking in Tongues (Griffin); The Power of Yes (Company B Belvoir); and Red Sky Morning and Faces in the Crowd (Red Stitch).


Cast Claire van der Boom, Leon Ford, Peter Kowitz, Richard Piper, Edwina Samuels, Jessica Tovey, Lachlan Woods

Director Sam Strong

Set Designer Andrew Bailey

Costume Designer Esther Marie Hayes

Lighting Designer Paul Jackson

Composer Kelly Ryall

Voice & Dialect Coach Leith McPherson

Assistant Director Stephen Nicolazzo


‘Truly an astonishing style, rippling in a nervous sort of way, the writing vivid and direct.’ The New York Times Book Review

‘Film noir is the most intoxicating of Hollywood cocktails, and none is more potent than Double Indemnity.’ The Telegraph (UK)


Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse

Season dates
30 May – 2 July

Opening Night
Friday 3 June, 8pm

Cast and Artist Q&A
Monday 23 May, 6pm

Tickets on sale now
MTC Box Office
03 8688 0800 or

Arts Centre Melbourne
1300 182 183 or


Published on 18 April 2016