Tag Archives: Ray Lawler


Valerie Bader, one of Australia’s finest actors

Lambert House Enterprises (who have given us so many successful productions in the last two years (Jasper Jones, The Credeaux Canvas, The Shape of Things plus a slew of on-line and live benefit performances during lockdown) have announced that KID STAKES will be performed live streamed on Saturday evening 25 September. 2021.

Following the success of their Zoom reading of Nick Enright’s St James Infirmary and their earlier live Anzac Day rendering of Alan Seymour’s The One Day of the Year – both to aid the Actors Benevolent Fund – the company returns with a new fund-raising rehearsed reading of a great Australian play to support actors in financial trouble… especially those caught in NSW and unable to return to their home states after big productions shut down due to Covid restrictions.

This time they present Ray Lawler’s classic play KID STAKES the first of the iconic DOLL TRILOGY also in honour of the playwright’s 100th birthday! The play was written as a ‘prequel’ many years after the internationally acclaimed Summer of the 17th Doll and focuses on the central characters of Roo, Barney, Olive and Nancy as they meet up for the first time and begin the alliance that follows for seventeen summers. Continue reading ONLINE READING OF LAWLER CLASSIC IN AID OF ACTOR’S BENEVOLENT FUND

Summer of the Seventeenth Doll @ Glen Street Theatre

The Doll 1
A scene from the Doll. Production photos by Shane Reid

This is a classic play for a very simple reason. It is a very well written. Today it is an interesting study of an aspect of Australian culture as it was over sixty years ago. It brings the classic legend of the archetypal bushie into Melbourne’s urban environment.

The typical bushie was physically impressive and valued mateship and playwright Ray Lawler has managed to bring the outback into a theatre for a very dramatic character driven play.

Two cane cutters have spent the last sixteen summers or “the lay off” with Olive and Nancy. They work hard with their mates for the seven months of the cane cutting season and then come to the city to relax, celebrate and enjoy their time off. However, Nancy has recently married and Olive has convinced her fellow barmaid, Pearl, to stay with her when these great blokes from Queensland come to town.

This particular summer does not live up to the sixteen previous golden halcyon summers. Gradually during the play cracks and flaws are revealed. Olive has explained that her unconventional relationship with Roo is far better than all the marriages she sees in the pub and that the five months of the boy’s lay off is a glorious time.

When Pearl meets Roo and Barney she does not quite see what Olive has been so excited about. Pearl is a widow and single mother. She is reserved, prudish and sees herself as a more respectable and responsible person than the flamboyant and vivacious Olive. Their contrasting characters are just one interesting aspect of this play. The central interest is the tension and conflict between the various characters.

The standout performance, under Geordie Brookman’s direction, is Elena Carapetis as Olive. She gives a very modern and natural performance but is also funny, outlandish and at times angry, grumpy and distraught.

Jacqy Phillips, as Emma Leech, Olive’s cranky but wise mother delivers an excellent performance.

Just as Pearl’s reserved and respectable character contrasts with Olive’s, Lizzy Falkland’s portrayal of Pearl has similar contrasts, and is probably more in keeping with the time that the play was set and written in.

Other cast members are Chris Pitman, Annabel Matheson, Tim Overton and Rory Walker.

The impressive sets and costumes are by Pip Runciman, excellent lighting by Nigel Levings and the music with its haunting cello and atmospheric piano is by Quentin Grant.

SUMMER OF THE SEVENTEENTH DOLL is playing at the Glen Street Theatre, Belrose until the 24th May.