Tony Laumberg is a passionate man. He is passionate about the law – having been in practice almost forty years. He is passionate about his golf game- he plays twice every week and is keen to get his handicap down. And he is passionate about his writing. He has written some 13 plays, mostly with a legal bent, and he has produced everyone of them himself.
His plays drew the attention of producer and theatrical agent David Spicer who put Tony Laumberg on his books. This led to a Tasmanian Theatre Company, the Ulverstone Repertory Theatre Society, getting in touch with David last year to get permission to put on his play ‘Bondi Legal’.
For the first time Tony wasn’t the producer. Tony was used to being in total control of every aspect of the production. The Company invited him down, paying for his flight and accommodation, to see the play which was performed for five weeks. Tony was very happy with the production which he saw two times. He was very impressed with the way the play actually took place in a court room.
Tony told me, “The woman playing the Magistrate took her role very seriously. When she entered the courtroom there was a call for everyone to rise. A few people in the audience were reluctant to rise which made the Magistrate glare at them until they got up on their feet!”
Tony went on to say, “Going down to Tasmania was one of the most enjoyable experiences in my theatre career and in fact my life. Just to be able to interact with so many people who were so grateful to have my play there.”
Earlier this year David Spicer approached Tony and asked him if he wanted to produce a season of ‘Bondi Legal’ as part of this years season of plays and cabarets at the Bondi Pavilion. Tony gave it some thought and decided in the negative saying that his legal practice was very busy and he couldn’t devote the time needed to produce the play.
Tony then made a counter offer to David. He would be happy to give him the opportunity to produce the play as part of the Bondi Theatre Company season. David said he needed a bit of time to think about it.
Tony told me that within twenty four hours David came back to him with an affirmative answer. David, after having worked with the ABC for some thirty years, took a package some time ago and now has more time to devote to his passion for theatre.
Tony said, “I enjoy other people producing my plays. It takes the pressure off me. I have built up databases over the years of contacts and I have given David access them which has made life easier for him”
Tony went on to say, “I am excited about what the production is going to be like when I have completely let go of it and left it up to others.”
There is also going to be some financial renumeration for Tony. As the playwright he gets 10% of the Box Office earnings. Tony said, “it’s great to get a bit of money from your art! It’s also exciting that David has told me that inside the program that people will be getting the published script of the play. People can take the play home and have some more laughs.”
Tony went on to talk about the actual play. “BONDI LEGAL is based on an actual court case I was involved in which was decided almost exactly 25 years ago. And it’s actually the 10th Anniversary since the play was first performed.
“This production has the same director, same actress playing the Magistrate and the same actor playing the barrister for the chemical company.
“The main character is called Brad Pitt. No relation, but the play is full of jokes set around it. ”
Tony said that the play will go 90 minutes without interval. He added, “The play has ten performances and I will go to every one of them,. It’s like having your child perform…you just have to be there.”
BONDI LEGAL is about a neurotic lawyer who turns up as a locum at the firm and on his first morning he has to conduct a hearing as the plaintiff’s solicitor in a complex product liability case without any preparation and he hasn’t had any court experience.
Tony said, “It’s the perfect comic storm. A guy who is a bumbling idiot has to represent the firm’s client whilst being absolutely terrified of being in court.
” It was a drama in real life but having my roots as a stand up comedian (Tony performed for many years as a stand up comic under the stage name Chubby Katz) I could see the comic potential of the tale.
” Because of my humorous bent I decided to name the handsome, intrepid lawyer(who may or may not be based on me) Brad Pitt to give him just one more obstacle to overcome. There are a lot of jokes set around his name.”
I asked Tony does the play have any message?
“The main message is that the play is loads of fun. The people in Tasmania enjoyed it and I’m sure that the people who come to see the show in Bondi will enjoy it too.”
The famous Broadway playwright Moss Hart described the trajectory of any play as being about, ‘You get someone up a tree, you throw rocks at him, then the writer has to decide whether to keep the main character up the tree or bring him down.”
You will have to see the play yourself to see if Brad Pitt manages to safely climb down from his tree.
Tony Laumberg’s BONDI LEGAL is playing just ten performances at the Bondi Pavilion. The show will run from the 11th to the 26th October on varied dates at the Bondi Pavilion Theatre.
Featured image : The cast and crew of BONDI LEGAL