Tag Archives: Anna Volska


This was a .great night of theatre brought to us by two of Australia’s theatrical legends.

The scenario. In  1944  at the Hotel Maurice, the Swedish diplomat Raoul Nordling and the German General Dietrich von Cholitz meet in a life and death situation for the city of Paris. On abandoning Paris, Hitler has ordered its destruction. Raoul has one night to persuade the General to leave the landmark city standing.

What we see is a battle of wills between the two men. We feel every bit of the battle and the shifts that so delicately take place. At first there seems little chance for Nordling to win the General and on more than one occasion he is shown the door yet somehow he always manages to come back.  Thankfully, in the end, he wins the General over and Paris is saved.  Continue reading DIPLOMACY @ THE ENSEMBLE


Featured image- John Bell and John Gaden in DIPLOMACY at the Ensemble Theatre. Pic Prudence Upton.

Paris, August 25th, 1944.  As the Allied Forces move closer to the city, Hitler has decided, in his ever-increasing delusional state, that if Germany can’t have Paris, then no-one will.  He has ordered the complete destruction of the city, so famous for its centuries of unique cultural history and beauty.

From this historical fact, French playwright, Cyril Gely, has created in DIPLOMACY, a fictional reason for Paris’ survival, a beautifully rich, philosophical and persuasive dialogue between two men – quite different by nature, but both very powerful in stature and personality.

Gely’s play was first performed in 2011 at Theatre de la Madeleine in Paris.  It was skilfully adapted and translated into English for John Bell’s Australian premiere by Julie Rose.  Gely also wrote the screenplay for the French movie based on his stage play, ‘Diplomatie’, which was shown at our 2015 French Film Festival.


Seventeen @ Belvoir Street

Seventeen- inset
Two legends of the Australian theatre as well as being great friends, John Gaden and Peter Carroll. Production photography by Brett Boardman

Theatremakers are often adventurous people. They try to come up with a new slants, new approaches to their subjects, to make the theatrical experience brighter, bolder and more interesting. One has to admire their risk taking, their courage, though the results of this experimentation can be quite varied.

For his new play SEVENTEEN, Matthew Whittet has chosen a subject that, over time,  has been popular for dramatists to explore, the experiences of young people on the verge/the cusp of adulthood. Through the play we follow the adventures/experiences of a group of teenagers as they celebrate their first night of freedom after twelve long years of schooling. A lot ‘goes down’ before the sun rises. Continue reading Seventeen @ Belvoir Street

Unholy Ghosts

Mother (Anna Volska) and Son (James Lugton) in UNHOLY GHOSTs. Pics Danielle Lyonne
Mother (Anna Volska) and Son (James Lugton) in UNHOLY GHOSTS. Pics Danielle Lyonne

With his new play UNHOLY GHOSTS  Campion Decent has made a  a brave call. He has gone the way of some of the great dramatists by putting his dysfunctional family of origin, up there, on centre stage, for all to see.

Eugene O’Neill could not bear to see his nightmarish autobiographical work, LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, performed whilst he was alive. His masterwork first saw the light of day  when it was first published three years after his death. Actually O’Neill wanted the public to wait 25 years after his demise however his wife, realising the enormity of this work, arranged for its earlier release date.

The playwright was there on opening night to see his work premiere. What an experience for him to go through- so raw on one hand, on the other cathartic, to see James Lugton play himself so well, and his Unholy Ghosts, his late parents, brought so vividly to life, by two of our finest actors, Robert Alexander and Anna Volska

They had made life very difficult for him. His right wing, antagonistic father never accepted his son’s homosexuality. His actress mother was a self obsessed, hard living lush.

Then there was his younger sister who died tragically young in suspicious circumstances. We never get to meet her on stage but she is another ghost that haunts this play, and Decent’s life.

At the end of the performance the cast were greeted with very enthusiastic applause. Decent joined the cast on stage for their final curtain call.

He had survived the night! A night of strong drama but the ending spoiled it for me …I don’t believe in happily ever after especially when it comes to families of any description…

My view…Over to you!

White Box Theatre’s production, directed by Kym Hardwick,  of UNHOLY GHOSTS plays the SBW Stables Theatre until 20th September.