Directed by Leah Purcell, this is a play about an indigenous family in Darwin written by indigenous playwright Jada Alberts starring an all indigenous cast. But it could be about any family anywhere. At its heart it is the story of how a senseless tragedy affects a family, the guilt and denial they suffer and how their love for each other strengthens the family. Opening with the the tropical heat of Darwin pervading the fibro & louvred window house, Adele (Rarriwuy Hick) wakes to the awful sight of family member Joe having hung himself the night before. Adele’s cousin Ruben (Hunter Page-Lochard), was with Joe but too drunk to notice what was about to happen nor to take any action. Jarrod (Bjorn Stewart) Adele’s boyfriend, cuts Joe down from the laundry ceiling where he has hung himself with Ruben’s fishing net. This senseless death hits Ruben hard and he drinks and smokes heavily, fuelled by his sadness at having done nothing to stop this death and potentially provided the method of death. To add to the misery the family is suffering, Adele’s mum (Ruben’s Aunt) is dying. Aunty Petra (Lisa Flanagan) drives up from Alice Springs to see her sister – and to try and help Ruben, now on parole and refusing to see his Aunty in hospital, who has looked after him sister his mother Lou died when he was a child. Ruben is required to see a counsellor, David (Cramer Cain), as part of his parole conditions but he finds it a waste of time. Ironically David’s experience of having one of his school students die by hanging, and his own feelings of helplessness at this tragedy, gives him a great understanding of Ruben’s guilt and pain. The performances are superb and the writing is as if you are listening in on this family’s conversations – although there are a few moments where the playwright is speaking rather than the character. Belvoir Street Theatre
The first generation acquires it, the second builds it and the third – destroys it and never deserved it. So says the fathers (and loyal staff) of two junior media magnates (magnatinos?) from rival media families, as they play out their entitled lives and dubious business decisions in the face of intense media scrutiny and public interest. There is no mistaking this is based on the story of James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch’s ill fated venture into Onetel, as the generational power was transitioned from canny old world media fathers to their less than savvy sons. The House of Vogler, a media empire built around network prestige is run by Ted Vogler (Laurence Coy), a rough and brutish man who gets his way through bullying, even into the pants of his son’s fiance Sally Kilmartin (Paige Gardiner). Vogler’s son Kim (Edmund Lembke-Hogan) is out to prove to his father that he can be trusted to build his fathers empire even further. Buying shares in new tech Lorcacorp for $1 billion which soon sink to be worth less than a million, is however a shattering beginner’s mistake. The House of Warburton, a rival operation, is run by media king, Liam Warburton (John Turnbull) and which presents a more urbane approach with its interests in global publishing. Warburton’s son Trevor (Andrew Cutcliffe), with the Harvard education polish, is also out to impress his father and cuts the grass of long term Warburton company man Donald Mayes (Terry Serio) as Trevor takes over the top job with his father’s blessing. With girlfriend Sherilyn (Gabrielle Scawthorn) by his side, he is the measure of success, albeit with a minor dint in the family fortune due to the much smaller investment in Lorcacorp that Warbuton took. An entertaining foray into the lives of the Australian rich and shameless, where the scenes are played out almost as 30 second grabs in front of a wood panelled set which goes from boardroom to beachhouse with each scene subtitled like a newsflash. Through the eyes of the average punters, PA for Kim Vogler Kylie Strauss (Briallen Clarke) and business journo David Grolsch (James Lugton), the demands and vices of these young tycoons are revealed for their ugliness and sadness. A dark comedy written by CJ Johnson and directed by Michael Pigott. 2 hours including interval. Eternity Playhouse Darlinghurst
Don’t be concerned about the title. It refers to the workplace misdemeanour that lands the character of Steve Rodgers (He) out of a job for downloading. Driving this very open and raw play by Declan Greene is the incredibly strong desire for human connection in all of us. Two broken and flawed people meet through an internet dating site. Fat, ugly, old and stupid is how they feel about themselves. Neither is particulary redeeming in any way- they are just ordinary people in the workplace with sad lives. He is in a loveless marriage unable to communciate with his wife and in a dead end job. She is a single mother working double shifts as a nurse to pay off her credit cards but spending more than she will ever bring in and dodging the bill collectors. Somehow they connect and find a moment of desire and love. Fleeting as it may be, it is a moment of human connection that sustains them. Superbly directed by Lee Lewis, this is yet again another rivetting Australian story by Griffin Theatre. Tickets $49 /$38 On till 14 June SBW Stables Theatre 10 Nimrod Street Kings Cross
A new type of Love Boat! David Williamson’s latest play takes three couples NY Jewish couple dentist Sol and socialite Sally Wassermann (Henri Szeps and Kate Fitzpatrick), pompous British duo Richard and Fiona Manton (Felix Williamson and Michelle Doake) and wealthy but bogan Aussie couple Darren and Imogen Brodie (Peter Phelps and Helen Dallimore) – and throws them together on a cruise that is not stopping anywhere. Forced to have dinner with each other every night for 7 nights, the initial pleasantries between the couples soon wear off and sexually predatory behaviour starts. The couples marriages are under the microscope and who is trying to sleep with whom. A series of one liners flow from the characters and the amorous advances of Richard Manton are just a “classy type of slither” and Sol Wassermann has penned a “dental thriller” which editor Fiona Manton is forced to read. Most of the action is around the dinner table and in respective cabins. The characters are mostly caricature in nature but the story rides the waves and is sad and funny in equal doses. Singing waiter Charlie (Kenneth Moraleda) reminds the audience that this is a cruise of the haves – and he is a have not, with his family in the Phillipines whom he sees for only 2 months a year. Directed and written by David Williamson, it may not be as slick as it could be but it is an amusing story with lots of LOL moments. Just over 2 hours with an interval, the plays steers a steady course to an unsurprising but fair ending.
Ensemble Theatre Kirribilli. On till 14 June