I was invited to Queensland Theatres premiere 2020 show - Emerald. Written by Australian playwright David Williamson and directed by Queensland Theatre's previous Artistic Director Sam Strong, this comedic gem proved to be every bit the enticing opener expected to launch the 50th anniversary season of Queensland's finest theatre. This co-production with Melbourne Theatre Company is currently playing until Saturday the 29th of February 2020 at The Playhouse, QPAC.
Set in 1980s idealist Sydney, where dreamers whimsically click their preverbal heels to follow their fancies in the so-called Emerald City of Oz. We are introduced to Colin (Jason Klarwein), a successful screenwriter currently suffering a "creative slowdown". His wife Kate (Nadine Garner) is an adventuresome publisher who is finally finding her footing in a cut-throat world. Lured to the Emerald City by its rumoured opportunities of fame and fortune they quickly learn that success can come at a steep price. Emerald City will give you the world if you don't mind selling your soul for a mountain of cash. Will it be for the love of art or for the love of money?
The play was written back in 1987 and in true Williamson form, it is fast-paced, clever and ever so witty. Emerald addresses complex relationship issues while holding a mirror to your own chosen values. It asks how far would you bend outside of your principles and what are you willing to sacrifice to get what you want? Are ephemeral moments in the spotlight worth the gradual destruction of one's self-worth or creative ethics? Thankfully such profound questions are best addressed with a healthy dose of comedy and that is precisely what this first-rate cast delivered. Comprised of some of Australia's best and well-known talent - Nadine Garner (Henderson Kids, Neighbours, The Doctor Blake Mysteries), Jason Klarwein (Once in Royal David's City, Macbeth, Twelfth Night) and Rhys Muldoon (House Husbands, Rake, The Sapphires), Emerald is full of outstanding performances. Another draw is that is directed by one of the best in the business - Sam Strong. The stage itself is a work of art. Beautiful and incredibly clever the stage design and lighting transforms and transports you back to Sydney flowing seamlessly from one scene to the next.
This play also marks Australian playwright David Williamson 50th year of storytelling, he received a standing ovation and a gorgeous bouquet of flowers on opening night for his extensive contribution sharing the many stories of all of us.
No doubt due to the script this play will most likely draw bigger laughs in Sydney and Melbourne, regardless Brisbane audiences always a appreciate a good comedy/dramedy.
The show was a good start to the season. Be quick there are only a few shows left!
Written By David Williamson Directed by Sam Strong Associate Director Travis Dowling Designer Dale Ferguson Lighting Designer David Walters Composer/Sound Designer Russell Goldsmith Cast Ray Chong Nee, Marg Downey, Nadine Garner, Megan Hind, Jason Klarwein, Rhys Muldoon