Tag Archives: Martin Bell


The Theatre on Chester won’t tell you, they are a pretty modest bunch, but that’s sort of my job when I see something to blow a trumpet for.    ALFRED DEAKIN IS AFRAID OF THE DARK is a home-grown play about a political figure who we should actually know about.  Their production of this nascent new work is gorgeously conceived, well-acted and directed by the writer of the piece with a strong sense of imagery and character.  It is a play that piques one’s curiosity and guides you off into google-land with a burning desire to know more about a man whose name we hear often but whose achievements and failures are buried in time.

And the play begins with his resurrection to grand trumpeting audio and a female séance pleading.  Alfred Deakin, with a Canberra suburb and a prestigious university named after him, is called from the grave.   The spiritualism of the Victorians is well known and Deakin had an interest in it long before he married ‘Pattie’ Brown, her father being a famed supporter of the practice.  In this fictitious incarnation of Deakin’s life, he will be surrounded by women.  Pattie gives him 3 daughters, his sister Katie is a strong influence in his life and he also meets with the first woman in the Empire to stand as a candidate, Vida Goldstein. Continue reading ALFRED DEAKIN IS AFRAID OF THE DARK: A LYRICAL NEW WORK


THE 39 STEPS at the Theatre on Chester, Epping is a crackerjack production with a cracking good performance at its centre. It’s hilarious, cleverly conceived, fast paced and, I do believe, the most fun I have ever had in the suburbs on a Friday night.

Richard Hannay is jaded, filled with ennui and world weary after his travels. With a wink to the audience, he decides to take in a night at the theatre … it’s an “antidote to boredom” right? He will meet a mysterious veiled woman and being bored will no longer be his problem as he finds himself accused of her murder. He is suddenly on a train to the Scottish Highlands following the clues which the aforementioned, now deceased Annabella Schmidt has intimated!

THE 39 STEPS is an Olivier, Drama Desk and Tony award winner. It is a rollicking show, which takes the Hitchcock classic film and puts it on stage with only four cast members. Owing a great deal to BULLSHOT CRUMMOND, the riotous production is alive with Hitchcockian allusions, some wonderful sight gags and jokes ranging from groaners to rapid fire puns. Continue reading THEATRE ON CHESTER PRESENTS ‘THE THIRTY NINE STEPS’