December 01, 1995

Tomorrow the World

Murray Bramwell

After the announcement of State Theatre’s Australian Playhouse season for 1996 comes detail of the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust’s World Theatre program. The world, it seems, is a somewhat closer place than we might have thought given the level of Australian content in the line-up. Perhaps now that State has committed itself to a five year plan we will have a better sense in future that the left hand knows whether the right hand has already signed the paper as far as Playhouse bookings are concerned.

In the meantime, 1996 is a good year if your name is Williamson or Enright. Not only is State presenting The Club in May but the Festival Centre is showcasing another Williamson investigation of the freemasonry of blokes, this time in Dead White Males, a look inside, among other things, the postmodern debate of literary academics. There are surprises, of course. Not only a ghost that walks but one that talks -and trippingly.

At the end of August we get to see the Playbox production of Nick Enright’s Good Works, a saga of the Kennedys and the Donovans, two families, town and country, spanning five decades from the 1930s to the 1980s. Directed by Kim Durban, the cast includes Helen Morse, Paul English, Jan Friedl and Greg Stone. It is good to see Enright’s work scheduled more frequently. State will close their card next year with his perennial success, The Venetian Twins.

Significant in the program, and more internationalist in perspective, is the Trust’s opening work for 1996. In February we’ll see the premiere of Stowaways, the Festival Centre’s joint production with Adelaide’s favourite Frenchperson, Philippe Genty. Genty and his creative associate Mary Underwood will work with Australian performers and a particular highlight will be music from accomplished Adelaide-based composer, Ian McDonald.

Time may be out of joint but the Trust is putting it right with Sebastian Barry’s play The Steward of Christendom, featuring the Irish actor Donal McCann. This production is one of two emanating from Max Stafford-Clark’s Out of Joint company in the UK. The other is a refit of Sue Townsend’s West End comedy hit, The Queen and I. Cast out by British republicans, the royals are relocated in Sydney’s western suburbs. Writer Townsend, celebrated for her chronicles of the angst of Adrian Mole and
the vaulting ambitions of Margaret Hilda Thatcher, will collaborate with Australian playwright Melissa Reeves for The Royals Down Under.

Prolific English playwright, David Hare’s new work Skylight will feature in September in a MTC production directed by Roger Hodgman with actors including Mark Wilson andWilliam Zappa. Other works in the 1996 line-up include a new show from Max Gillies, written by Guy Rundle- Gillies Live at the Club Republic. Directed by Rodney Fisher it features MC Graham “Richo” Richardson and various other Gillies manifestations called Howard, Kennett, Fischer, Evans and Hawke. The saturnine Rock’n’Roll Circus, widely reported by the umpires for last year’s Bodyslam, return in October with The Dark while, for something completely dysfunctional in November, the renowned Handspan company present their stage adaptation of Daze of Our Lives. Based on the cartoons of Mary Leunig and featuring Julie Forsythe along with the unfathomable imaginations of the Handspan crew, this day in the life of a house(wife)human will have us all looking for a bex and a lie-down.

The Adelaide Review, December, 1995.

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