Rudy & Cuthbert are two job-seeking clowns bearing suitcases. After much deliberation, the pair decide to stage Reginald Rose’s 12 Angry Men.
Surprised to find an audience waiting in their seats, Rudy & Cuthbert soon realise what they thought was another day of rehearsals is their opening night.
Directed by Surf Coast local Ellen Cressey, Ellen’s son, Zelman Cressey- Gladwin, stars in the production alongside roommate Toby Blome.
Zelman and Toby created the show during their studies at Melbourne’s National Institute of Dramatic Art.
Beginning with in-house performances and showings, the friends had faith Rudy & Cuthbert could take the national stage and have a stand-alone season.
“They (Zelman and Toby) worked jobs over the summer seasons to be in a position to hire the Sydney Theatre in 2018, and now Southbank Theatre – The Lawler,” says Ellen.
“It’s the first year that Zelman and Toby were out of training themselves, so what was a nice relationship and partnership was the fact that even though Zel was my son, I could see his amazing individual talent and skill that he shared with Toby.”
Ellen – who studied at the Victorian College of the Arts and starred in Prisoner and Blue Heelers – says it’s been a delightful process to watch her son’s new creative ideas come to fruition with her experience in the industry.
“You never know how it’s going to be taken, or for it to have success,” she reflects.
“The story is about the joy of friendship, discovery, absurdity, and the fact that really as humans, we all just need to rely on each other.
“It is an act of, not disaster so much, but some things just not going to plan.” Zelman’s father, Neill Gladwin, was part of 1980s stand-up comedy duo, Los Trios Ringbarkus.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, with Zelman sharing his parents’ love for performing.
“It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid to work with my mum, in whatever shape or form in the theatrical world,” says Zelman.
“It has its moments, of ‘mum this’ and ‘mum that’, but we get along and there’s that love there, for each other and for the show and the arts. I can’t imagine doing it without her.”
The script for Rudy & Cuthbert was created by Zelman and Toby over a three-week brainstorming and rehearsing period.
Using expressions and bodily movements without dialogue, Rudy & Cuthbert can be enjoyed by people of all ages and languages.
“People say ‘wow, no words – that’s incredibly scary and difficult’, but it’s surprisingly comforting. There’s just two humans and you see their emotion through facial shift and expression,” says Zelman.
“We’ve (Zelman and Toby) spent three years with each other, and we know how each other acts and each other’s habits.
“It’s beautiful going through this experience and process with a friend, an amazing friend and an amazing work colleague.”
Zelman and Toby will bring “Rudy & Cuthbert” to The Lawler at Southbank Theatre across a 10-day period from June 12 to June 22.
Tickets are $39 per person, or $28 for concession cardholders. Get yours via southbanktheatre.com.au/ rudy&cuthbert.