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Underneath Ms Archer

A dynamite time travel comedy is set to rock Melbourne from June 21 in the unmistakable shape and form of two of Australia’s funniest actors, Louise Siversen and Peter Houghton.

Underneath Ms Archer slams a 21st century woman face to face with a medieval man in a culture war that takes no prisoners.

Fresh off the back of the success of their work on MTC’s Green Room Award nominated Heartbreak Choir by the late and great Aidan Fennessy, Siversen and Houghton have got the band back together and created a show for the ages, playing with ideas of cancellation, reconciling one’s past, and the confusions and quandaries of life right now. The pair’s long history of collaboration began in 1998, and they launched into Underneath Ms Archer in 2019 as a response to the internet echo chamber.

“We’ve never shied away from the tough stuff,” says Siversen, “In this show we plan on running into it headfirst. Our play is an offering, an opportunity to confront, wrestle with, and illuminate difficult subjects.”

“Every age has its unquestioned certainties,” says Houghton. “Five hundred years from now almost everything we think and believe will seem ridiculous. But some ideas prevail and make sense in every age. What are they? How do we find the balance between conservation and progress? How do we even talk about it?”

The show digs hard into the question: can we come back from a mistake? On a long haul flight, flight attendant Kelly Archer does something that she can’t undo - and the internet has a field day. The story plays with concepts of the Magna Carta, cancellation, and compromise. All this - wound tightly into a comedy about how being stuck with family can sometimes suck.

“It’s comic. It’s mythic. It’s psychological. It’s spiritual. It’s emotional,” says Houghton. “You’ll feel good when you hit the street after. It’s that favourite song that makes you cry. That thing in the back of your brain that knows there’s something bigger going on.”

“It’s that feeling that we’re all in this together... whatever this is,” adds Siversen.

Houghton has been nominated for a Green Room Award for his direction on last year’s Heartbreak Choir, has directed or performed in more than twenty productions for MTC, and has won Green Room Awards for Best Actor, Best Director and Best New Australian Play.

Siversen was nominated for a Silver Logie for her compelling work as Judge Glenda de Bono in Janus. Her career spans generations - to some she’s best known for her portrayal of Lou Kelly in Prisoner: Cell Block H, and to others for her more recent comic recurring character Miss Looby in House Husbands. Her comedic work on Melbourne’s stages is legendary.

The rest of the incredibly talented creative team have been similarly recognised for excellence, with sound design and composition by J. David Franzke, lighting design by Bronwyn Pringle, dramaturgy by Dr Chris Mead, costume design by Karine Larché, and set design by Sophie Woodward and Jacob Battista.

Underneath Ms Archer plays 21 June - 16 July at the Irene Mitchell Studio, South Yarra | Tickets: $30 - $50

Media enquiries: Fiona Macleod Publicity | 0415 174 604 |

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