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AUSTRALIA DAY COMMITTEE FORMED BY PLAYWRIGHT JONATHAN BIGGINS

Photos by Chris Lundie

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