Ever since I was 7-years-old, I knew I wanted to be a writer and made my own Mr Men books. Today, I am a freelance writer and have the privilege to review bands, theatre and comedy across Melbourne, not to mention interview some incredible artists.
The story behind Burke and Wills tragic expedition
Burke's Company by Bill Reed is currently playing at The Basin Theatre until 1st September. The Basin Theatre is quickly becoming a favourite of mine for the extra love they give their audience - sherry on arrival, coffee and tea at the interval and on top of that the audience get the chance to chat with the cast over champagne and cheese at the end of the play. It's a classy touch and one that adds to the magic of the theatre.
Directed by Graham Fly the play recreates Burke and Wills' expedition that ended in tragedy in 1860. Burke and Wills planned to cross Australia from South to North, unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances lead to their untimely deaths in the scorching hot desert. King (Matt Phillips) is the only surviving member and the shackles of survivor's guilt are well and truly taking their toll on Brahe (Zane Kelly) as he recounts the tragic events. Brahe, who was part of the Cooper's Creek Party was meant to wait for Burke (John Putman) and Wills (Campbell McNish) and the rest of the Advance party to return to Coopers Creek but sadly left them behind making the story of a Burke and Wills a misfortune.
Special mention goes out to Putman, McNish and Phillips who made me feel their pain with their frank and sincere acting as they faced scorching temperatures, exhaustion and malnutrition. Credit also goes to Robert Trott who covered the role of Wright at the eleventh hour after a withdrawal by the previous actor. Although he refers to his script on stage, he gives it his all and shines through. The direction of Burke's Company was stylistic but unfortunately, at times this made the narrative confusing.
My main overall criticism is that the first act had some minor lulls that lead to a clunky beginning. Otherwise, an incredible play that pays homage to Australian explorers Burke and Wills.