I love shows like this where one gets to know some things about the person behind all the work. Nick Enright left a large canon of work and his plays are still regularly performed on our stages.
These are just some of my jottings from the show.
Enright was born in Maitland and went to school at Riverview where he was Drama Captain. He was obsessed with theatre from very early on. There’s a story of how he stood by the stage door at the Capitol theatre attired in his school uniform so he could meet Nancye Hayes.
He was a prolific poet with many of his poems having a light, comic touch.
With his film script Lorenzo’s Oil, which he co-wrote with George Miller, he was offered the chance to settle in Los Angeles but he rejected it, wanting to stay based in Australia. He was very patriotic and he wrote definitively Australian characters with Aussie vernacular.
There’s a lovely scene during the play where the Peter Allen song ‘I Still Call Australia Home’ is sung with audience participation. Some may not know that Enright wrote the book to the international hit that was The Boy From Oz.
He loved to entertain guests at dinner parties. Frequent guest and Long time friend Sandy Gore described his plays as always being about families, in one way or another.
This excellent show was devised by David Mitchell and Melvyn Morrow. Morrow was his drama teacher at Riverview. Their love for Enright shines through clearly in this play.
Genesian Theatre Company Artistic Director Roger Gimblett stylishly directed this production keeping a good pace throughout. The show was mainly song and dance with anecdotes thrown into the mix.
The cast consisted of four talented ladies, Angela Ayers, Juliette Coates, Rosanna Hurley and Lana Domeney and pianist Dion Condack who brought Enright’s work vividly to life.
It is kind of fitting that the Australian premiere of ENRIGHT ON THE NIGHT took place at the Genesian Theatre. At the start of his career, during 1971 and 1972,l Enright was a member of the Genesian Theatre Company, performing in A Doll’s House and Uncle Vanya as well as directing London Assurance.
This show was a joyous celebration of Nick Enright’s work. One can only hope that this show has legs and will be seen by a wider audience.
Highly recommended, ENRIGHT ON THE NIGHT is playing the Genesian Theatre, 420 Kent Street, Sydney until Saturday 13th April, 2019. Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 7.30pm and Sundays at 4.30pm.