BOY OUT OF THE COUNTRY played as part of the inaugural Pioneer Play Festival. The play is a favourite with schools but this was the Sydney premiere. An interesting script which explores the conflicts around loss of rural lifestyle, it is written with an idiomatic style that sees naturalistic and non-naturalistic scenes beside each other and mood and emotion heightened by language.
Hunter and Gordon have come to blows. Hunter has returned to his rural hometown after seven years away to find progress in an unstoppable march. His boyhood home is next to be sold and developed, his mother Margaret, has been relocated and his elder brother has dollars in his eyes. There’s a squabble inevitable as Hunter refuses to let go of the past. Local police officer Walker will handle the physical dustup but Gordon’s wife, Rachel, will be left to moderate between the two. There are big stakes for both men and intractability is their male heritage. Continue reading BOY OUT OF THE COUNTRY. IS THE LOSS OF RURAL LIFESTYLE INEVITABLE?→
AUSTRALIA DAY playing at the New Theatre is a lot of fun. That could be it. That could be all I need to write. “Go and see it. It’s a good comedy!”
Ah but …. I love an “Ah but” moment in the theatre. Jonathan Biggins doesn’t write in one dimension, he’s not a single noun kind of scribbler. Few national treasures are and AUSTRALIA DAY is a whole mess of naming words. All of which add up theatrical storytelling of the finest, most entertaining, kind.
We meet the Australia Day Committee of the small fictional town of Coriole, including a mayor with aspirations to be on the ticket for the House of Reps. Cushy job in Canberra would be nice and Bryan Harrigan is a man with an eye for the main chance. As is Helen. She’s a member of The Green Party and pretty green. Robert is the chair and often umpire. Maree is the CWA rep and Wally is a leftover from the days when men ruled empires and could say and do as they liked. At their first meeting for next year’s events, there are concerns in committee about how the changing population of Coriole is affecting the traditional way of celebrating a national day. Enter Chester.
Chester is the school rep by default on the committee. He’s a teacher and from an Asian background. That means Chinese to Maree and Wally, it’s a tough room! Lap Nguyen gives us such a fun character here. Self-deprecating, amused beyond belief at the rest of this committee, not above baiting their prejudices and guilelessly positive. Chester is beautifully written of course. Continue reading AUSTRALIA DAY COMMITTEE FORMED BY PLAYWRIGHT JONATHAN BIGGINS→
This is the first time that this neglected rather early Rattigan play has been seen in Sydney. While it now perhaps seems rather dated and ‘of its time’ under Giles Gartrell-Mills’ excellent direction this play while at first, seemingly very artificial, superficial and slow to take off, develops and becomes quite intense and multi-layered.
Rattigan’s play, AFTER THE DANCE written in 1939, examines the life of the young people who survived World War One and lived life to the full in the hedonistic 1920s, only to find themselves now middle-aged, disillusioned and facing another World War .It is a study of a lost generation. The script is brilliantly written and the play well plotted and structured. At times the play seems a bit like a brittle Coward comedy – the audience laughed heartily at certain points at the sparking , witty dialogue – but there remains an underlying passion and morality. Rattigan is able to let the audience see the hidden sadness of these doomed fantasists.Continue reading TERRENCE RATTIGAN’S ‘AFTER THE DANCE’ @ THE NEW THEATRE NEWTOWN→
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