Presented by Therry Dramatic Society
Reviewed 17 August 2018
This play is usually performed closer to the day it commemorates in April, but Therry Dramatic Society have decided to make it part of the celebrations of their 75th year. Written in 1958 it is a play of its time, set in the 50’s but showcasing many of the problems that still beset our society today. We are less tolerant of racism but it still exists (if not spoken openly in most cases) and the faces of the veterans have changed. Maybe the inclusion of women and overseas veterans has increased but the almost proud tradition of drunken celebrations remains.
The play centres around the Cook family and their involvement in the Anzac Day March. Alf, a lift operator with little to look forward to, revels in the feeling that on this one day of the year he is somebody! His son Hughie has always attended the march with his father, but now a student at university he sees it all differently. Encouraged by his girlfriend he questions the reason for the drunken celebrations of, what he sees as, a defeat. Caught up in the crossfire are Dot, Alf’s wife, and Wacka, a veteran of both word wars. The problems in Vietnam and the possibility of Australia supplying aid would have fuelled the anti-war feelings, which were rife in universities at that time.
John Rosen is the perfect ‘Digger’ who came home to less than he thought he was due. Loud mouthed, free with the bad language and expecting unwavering loyalty from his wife and son he lashes out at what he sees as betrayal. Dot, played beautifully by Julie Quick, is the family peacemaker, pouring oil on troubled waters while confused by the developments. Jai Pearce’s portrayal of Hughie is sensitive and shows depth from this young performer. Ashley Penny failed to impress as Jan the girlfriend. She had the rich entitlement down pat but it was difficult to see any connection with Hughie, or why she would appeal. Christopher Leech was a quiet unassuming Wacka, going with the flow and keen on a quiet life.
The set by director Kerrin White served the different levels well and was well lit by Richard Parkhill (as usual). The set and props were appropriate for the era, as were the costumes. The pace was, in places, uneven and caused some spots to drag, but overall it was a fine representation of a classic Aussie play. An interesting inclusion from Therry, deserving of a bigger audience than was there.
Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Venue: Arts Theatre, Angas St
Season: 16 – 25 August 2018
Duration: 2.5 hr
Tickets: Adults $27 Concession $22 Children and students 17 and under $12
Bookings: trybooking.com or direct with Therry 8294 7907