Charitable Intent

Jessica Sullivan and Catherine McGraffin in David Williamson's CHARITABLE INTENT. Pics Clare Hawley
Jessica Sullivan and Catherine McGraffin. Pic Clare Hawley

A conniving, narcissistic, backstabbing bitch is the central character in the final play in David Williamson’s Jack Manning trilogy. Bryony (Catherine McGraffin) has been appointed as CEO of a charity and her modern corporate methods cause conflict with the staid, long term members of the organisation. The harmonious operation of the organisation has become dysfunctional to the extent that the board requires a community conference in an attempt to restore balance.

A workplace squabble about organisational direction has spiralled out of control to the extent that there are screaming sessions and unworkable relationships. This scenario resonates well with the audience as everyone is familiar with this or a similar situation. The other appealing feature of this play is having a classic soap opera style nasty bitch as a central character. It is good to have a character that the audience can metaphorically hiss and boo at. Some of Bryony’s lines drew a groan or an intake of breath from the audience.

Williamson’s dislike of management jargon provides much of the humour in CHARITABLE INTENT. Much of it comes from Bryony, and she seems oblivious to the meaningless nature of corporate lingo but somehow seems to have captivated the chairman and the board with her management textbook drivel.

Jack Manning is again played well by Glenn Hazeldine. He maintains his pleasant persona through some heated exchanges and captures the right level of restraint and reticence to maintain control. The other central character Amanda is played by Fiona Press who has captures well the the downtrodden and suffering employee who is the victim of Bryony’s cruel and malevolent behaviour. They are ably supported by Chloe Bayliss, Persia Blue, Ally Fowler, Noel Hodda and Jessica Sullivan.

An Ensemble Theatre Company production directed by Sandra Bates, CHARITABLE INTENT opened at the Concourse, Chatswood on the  17th September and runs until 27th September.