TV Week: “Culture Shock!” Acropolis Now 6th July 1991

Out of Embassy and into Acropolis… for Nicki it’s

Culture Shock!

TV Week
6th July 1991

AFTER stage credits including Shakespeare and Chekhov, and a key role in the television series Embassy, Nicki Wendt reckoned it was time for a break from serious drama.

And signing on tor Acropolis Now should fit the bill.

Next month. Nicki joins George Kapiniaris (Memo), Nick Giannopoulos (Jim), Mary Coustas (Effie) and Nick Carrafa (Alfredo) to begin the fourth series of the seven Network sitcom.

Nicki will fill the void left by Tracey Callander, who played waitress Liz.

Nicki., 25, sees her new character, yet to be named as “a real young gun and marketing high flier”.

“She went to school with Jim and had a working-class background,” Nicki says. “She has become a hard-hitting businesswoman.”

At 20 Nicki graduated from the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts to star in Melbourne Theatre Company productions ranging from Shakespeare to Chekhov.

She has since completed two series of the respected ABC drama Embassy, in which she plays Belinda Avery, the Ambassador’s secretary.

George Kapiniaris says Nicki’s theatrical skills will be a huge bonus for Acropolis Now.

“Nicki is strong with excellent comic timing and delivery of lines,” he says.

The $700 Movie Star

…but Mary insists it’s no embarrassment!

WHEN Mary Coustas was asked to star in the Australian movie Nirvana Street Murder, there was no talk of a “megabucks” contract.

The critically acclaimed film put together by writer, editor and director Aleksi Vellis, was shot on a budget of just $134,000.

Mary plays Helen, who suffers at the hands of strict Greek parents.

“When I read the script I had to ring Aleksi to tell him I just had to do this film,” she says.

“I was in Sydney at the time doing Wogs Out Of Work and had to commute to Melbourne.

“I made $700 from the film. I wasn’t doing it for the money and none of the others were either.”

Nirvana Street Murder is a black comedy-drama revolving around brothers Boady (Mark Little) and Luke (Ben Mendelsohn), who work at a abattoir and live on the poverty line in suburban Melbourne.

Boady is violent with a criminal record, and then level-headed Luke is forever paying for his brothers sins.

After a conformation with police, failed drug-dealer Boady, with his pregnant girlfriend Penny (Tamara Saulwick), Smeg (Yiorgo) and Luke hide out in a mansion owned by an old woman (Sheila Florance).

A combination of events, including Boady’s sleepwalking, Luke’s relationship with Mary Coustas character Helen and trouble with the group’s Greek counterparts, leads to tragedy and fatalities.

Mary says the Luke-Helen romance is an important aspect.

Helen’s parents are strict and firm believers in arranged marriages.

“My family was never strict with me like Helen’s parents are with her,” says Mary, whose parents are Greek.

“I think the difference in my upbringing compared to my character’s is that my parents knew what I was up to. There’s a secrecy element to Helen’s life that her parents don’t like.

“Her parents are happy with her in one way, because she has a good job as a teacher, but they can’t understand her other life, which includes Luke, sex and crime.”

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