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Press Releases

Three Little Words

3 Mar 2017

Catherine McClements (Tangle) and Kate Atkinson (Wentworth) star in the world premiere of Joanna Murray-Smith’s brand new razor-edged comedy, Three Little Words. Opening on Saturday 22 April at Southbank Theatre, The Sumner, this new Australian play is a sharp social observation about friends, relationships and the complexities of navigating through the everyday upheavals of life.

With a track record of staging stellar new Australian works and the recent success of her production of Joanna Murray-Smith’s play, Switzerland, MTC Associate Director Sarah Goodes is perfectly placed to direct to this sophisticated, acerbic comedy.

Director Sarah Goodes said, ‘Joanna Murray-Smith’s Three Little Words highlights her brilliant ability to focus on the complex dynamics of human relationships through wit, depth and the power of social commentary. In this new work she dives inside the interdependence of friends and their relationships – how we build our identities around those closest to us and how the breakdown of romantic relationships can be equally traumatic for those we spend the most time with. Brilliant and funny, as well as possessing a Greek-like focus on human interaction and behaviour, Three Little Words will be a wild night in the theatre.’

Peter Houghton (Howzat) and Katherine Tonkin (The Cherry Orchard) join Kate Atkinson and Catherine McClements on stage, completing the cast in this world premiere production.

Bonnie and Annie and their best friends, Tess and Curtis, have both been together for twenty years. The cosy world of coupledom has insulated them all from the challenges of a complicated world. They’ve shared lunches, brunches, art exhibitions and trips to Kakadu. Their perfect cosmopolitan bubble seems hermetically sealed, until one couple casually drops a bombshell – they have decided to split up. There’s no way to predict or control the devastation that follows.

Joanna Murray-Smith is one of Australia’s most nationally and internationally acclaimed playwrights. Her work has been nominated for many awards including the Olivier Award for Best Comedy for The Female of the Species. Her other plays include Switzerland; Pennsylvania Avenue; Fury; True Minds; Day One, A Hotel, Evening; The Gift; Rockabye; Ninety; Bombshells; Honour; Redemption; Love Child; and the smash-hit, Songs for Nobodies. In 2016 Joanna was the inaugural winner of the Mona Brand writing award and she has previously been awarded two Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards for Drama, the Braille Book of the Year Award, Edinburgh Fringe First Award and the London Theatregoers Choice Award. S he was also a finalist for the 2006 Miles Franklin Award and was nominated for the 2004 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

MTC Associate Director Sarah Goodes has garnered a reputation as a leading director of new Australian and international work, attracting critical acclaim and multiple award nominations for her productions including John (MTC); Disgraced, The Hanging, Switzerland, Battle of Waterloo, The Effect and Orlando (all for Sydney Theatre Company). Formerly resident director at STC, she has also directed Vere (Faith), The Splinter and Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness for the company. Other directing credits include Black Milk, The Sweetest Thing and The Small Things (Belvoir); The Colour of Panic (Sydney Opera House and its Norwegian tour); Vertigo and the Virginia and The Schelling Point, Hilt and What Happened Was (Old Fitzroy Theatre); and The Unscrupulous Murderer Hasse Karlson Reveals the Gruesome Truth About the Woman Who Froze to Death on a Railway Bridge (Darlinghurst Theatre Company).


Cast Kate Atkinson, Peter Houghton, Catherine McClements, Katherine Tonkin

Director Sarah Goodes

Set & Costume Designer Michael Hankin

Lighting Designer Paul Jackson

Composer & Sound Designer Kelly Ryall

Assistant Director Elsie Edgerton-Till


‘One of the nation’s most popular playwrights.’ The Australian

‘Joanna Murray-Smith has a way of weaving life’s rich tapestry into a consummate collection of character pieces.’ Crikey


Season Dates
18 April – 27 May

Opening Night
Saturday 22 April, 8pm

Southbank Theatre, The Sumner

Single Tickets
On sale now
03 8688 0800

Published on 3 March 2017

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