In Nakkiah Lui’s play HOW TO RULE THE WORLD Vic, Zaza and Chris meet in a bar. They have a passionate, booze filled chat that is the genesis for them to start an election campaign.
They are fed up with the current state of politics and the Prime Ministers current push to push Sovereign State legislation through Parliament.
All three of them are well educated, savvy with political processes, and have their own ideas about how they want things run. There is a a half senate election coming up They come up with a plan. They will find someone who will run for the senate and get him or her to be the voice for their views.
They decide that it will have to be a non threatening, non thinking white person. Further, they decide its going to have to be an out of work actor, and that they will need to hold auditions to find the right person.
It is these auditions which are a very funny part of the play as it is a revolving door of unsuitable candidates until they finally stumble on to someone who fits the bill. His name is Lewis Lewis and he is good natured and not very bright. They decide that he needs a makeover, – has to have his haircut and needs a name change. His new name is Tommy Ryan or trying for short, the phonetic sound of tryan. There are clever touches like this throughout the play.
Hamish Michael gives a vibrant, hilarious performance as Ryan. His reaction to when they tell him that he has got the job is priceless. So to is his bizarre, childlike tantrum when he is told that he will have to have his much loved hair cut.
The daring trio are happy with their choice and get to work on getting him elected, hoping that he will hold the balance of power. What the trio don’t foresee is that they have created a bit of a Frankenstein, Rather than being just their puppet, Ryan starts believing his role and forging his own path, ignoring his ‘advisers’.
Something else that the trio didn’t foresee is that in their ruthless quest for power they ‘knock out’ some of Tommy’s opponents, by any means possible, and that has a devastating consequence. Ruling the world doesn’t come without a price!
While the play’s themes are serious, there is a great deal of comedy, and playfulness stuff which makes the evening entertaining as well as enlightening and educative.
The performances are superb. The band of three comprise the playwright herself who plays Vic, Michele Lim Davidson as Zaza, and Anthony Taufa is Chris. They give good performances as the team determined to change the political landscape.
Hamish Michael. I’ve already written how terrific he was as Lewis Lewis/Tommy Ryan.
Rhys Muldoon is great as the pugnacious, opportunistic, conservative Prime Minister who holds steadfast to his agenda. Muldoon’s scenes are mainly short and sharp, and he makes the best of them .
Vanessa Downing and Gareth Davies deftly play a range of minor characters with flair.
Paige Rattray’s direction is skilled and fast paced. There are scenes of great poignancy ,especially involving Nakkiah Lui, still there is a breezy, quirky tone to the production overall. There were even a few songs thrown in to good effect.
Marg Horwell set design was effective, with allusions to a ‘regular’ corridor at Parliament House, with the main stage area being left uncluttered and being able to be used in various guises. Horwell’s costume design was first class with Hugh Michael’s costuming particularly appropriate to his various moods and personality.
Paul Mac and Shaun Francis came up with a good contemporary soundscape. Emma Valente lighting design worked well.
Summing up, HOW TO RULE THE WORLD is a clever political satire, bringing out serious themes with a light touch. Well worth a visit, Nakkiah Lui’s HOW TO RULE THE WORLD is playing at the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House until the 30th March,