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A Prudent Man at Fringe World - Review

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by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce (subscribe)
Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at:
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A man on the edge in a flawless production
Katy Warner's award-winning play A Prudent Man opened at Fringe last night to a sell-out house.

The play is a fifty minute tour de force of theatre combining the very best of script, direction and acting, two which Katy Warner supplied and the acting was performed by Lyall Brooks.

A Prudent Man, Katy Warner, Lyall Brooks, Politics, Donald Trump, Pauline Hanson, Melbourne Fringe
Lyall Brooks is A Prudent Man (Photograph courtesy of Limelight Consulting)

I cannot commend this play too highly - the script is flawless, the direction inspired and the acting beyond praise. It would be so easy to get wrong, one mis-step, one stumble, one tiny mistake and the illusion would have been lost. Warner's use of repetition, political cliché and asides is masterly and naturalistic, but I would think a bugger to learn.

The play, shorn of the political overtones, which I'll get to shortly, is about a man on the edge. There are echoes of the beach scene from Tennessee William's Suddenly Last Summer, with just the same power, too.

Warner's view of politics may be a trifle on the simplistic, wide-eyed naiveté side (her director's notes say: "I wanted to understand the conservatives and ... how on earth these people honestly think a lack of compassion and empathy make them ... right."

Sweeping statements like 'All conservatives lack compassion' do not in fact reflect Warner's insight into the human psyche, which is ruthless, unsentimental and pertinent.

Warner's un-named protagonist is obviously of the Right, but what he suffers from is not conservatism but power, the corruption of power and it's seductive siren call.

The play starts slowly and with a certain amount of bitter humour, which led to some laughter, which gradually lessened and lessened until the last third was watched in total, enraptured silence until tumultuous applause at the end.

The rest of the run is sold out, but it's worth seeing if you can get on some sort of waiting list to see this truly wonderful piece of theatre.

A Prudent Man, Katy Warner, Lyall Brooks, Politics, Donald Trump, Pauline Hanson, Melbourne Fringe

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*Douglas Sutherland-Bruce was invited as a guest
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Why? Sublime theatre
When: 7:00pm
Where: The Shambles, Perth Cultural Centre, James Street, Northbridge
Cost: From $26
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