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Home > Brisbane > Performing Arts | Shows | Theatre
by John Andrew (subscribe)
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The magic is still strong


The stage setting was simple but arresting. A cube, open on some sides, glassed-in on others, which revolved to signify changes of scene and time. Behind the cube, shimmering streamers of lights, suggesting Sydney bridge and the city skyline – forever magical, forever changing, forever unattainable.

But the focus is on the dialogue, as Colin (Jason Klarwein) and Kate (Nadine Gardner) pursue the glittering prizes while trying to persuade themselves that they have not entirely sold out.

Williamson expects us to listen – and we are rewarded by beautifully crafted lines – in this razor-edged, sharply satirical pre-social media love-hate encomium to Sydney – with sideswipes to Melbourne, Brisbane and Rio.

The plot – such as it is – is the hook on which to hang the intrigues, jealousies, hype, rivalries and many layered competitiveness that is (as Williamson portrays it) the Sydney arts scene. Nothing is as it seems and nothing stays constant – not least in relationships where a little creative infidelity (undiscovered) adds lustre to a fading marriage.

Colin is torn between a vision of creative integrity and a desire to be visibly and obscenely successful – heaven, he feels, is clearly defined in Sydney – it is a harbour view – an ambition which Kate (despite her Booker prize protιgι) achieves first.

Williamson's plays also reflect something of the creative tension of his characters – at times glitzy and superficial, at times exploiting the glamour of the young and the attractive as they work their image self-consciously and relentlessly, at times skewering hypocrisy with a well-crafted epigram.

Expect belly laughs, appreciative chuckles, and reflective silences.
The audience (on opening night at Brisbane) was replete with the great the glamorous – Williamson himself, past Governors-General and the glitterati of the Arts scene – indication enough that Williamson himself has stayed at the top of the greasy pole of success for fifty years – yet retaining a lacerating self-awareness of its rewards and limitations.

Now several decades old, has the play retained its power to engage, entertain and challenge?

Your ageing reviewer feels that it has – and that this particular production enhances it.



Associate Director Travis Dowling
Designer Dale Ferguson
Lighting Designer David Walters
Composer/Sound Designer Russell Goldsmith
Cast includes: Marg Downey (Rupert and Kath & Kim), Ray Chong Nee (Hydra, Noises Off), Rhys Muldoon (Nearer The Gods, House Husbands), Nadine Garner (The Dr Blake Mysteries, City Homicide), Jason Klarwein (Once in Royal David's City, Macbeth, Twelfth Night)

★★★★ 1/2 - BROADWAY WORLD

★★★★ - LIMELIGHT

"A magnificent achievement" - STAGE WHISPERS

"It's fast and furious and the great lines whiz by" - THE COURIER MAIL

"This is a production that everyone really should see" - BLUE CURTAINS BRISBANE

"I couldn't stop grinning and laughing" - HUSH HUSH BIZ

"The entire cast delivered rave-able performances" - FACESOFBNE

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Why? Visually astonishing; entertaining, engaging
When: current
Where: Playhouse
Cost: $61 - $92
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