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Ishmael Club - Old Fitz Theatre

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by Stephanie McCann (subscribe)
A university student living in Sydney's trendy inner west with a love for live music, thrifting, vinyl records, and vegan food.
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The Ishmael Club - bound by art and refusal of conformity
They are the artists we all know, 'bohemians' in their own words, and political satirists at the times of Federation and the First World War – they are The Ishmael Club. Three friends and a sister bonded by a passion for art, and congregating in cultural Melbourne.

The Ishmael Club revising their laws. Credit: Bakehouse Theatre Company
The Ishmael Club revising their laws. Credit: Bakehouse Theatre Company

Norman Lindsay, Will Dyson, Ruby Lind, and Mrs Maggia take the audience through an array of emotions as they follow a friendship reborn and then torn apart. As their meeting unfolds once again in Mrs Maggia's café, the friends reminisce on the Ishmael Club, bringing the laws of the club to life with some cheerful play, and throwing some friendly banter back and forth between the boys.

However, when Dyson marries Ruby Lind, and they head to London with Lindsay to pursue artistic work, friction occurs between the newly weds and Lindsay when he requests his mistress Rose to join the trio. In disagreement with his sister, Lindsay goes back to Melbourne and the audience watches the war progress in two cities. From beginning with notions of nostalgia, joyous reunions, and new love, the production ends with death and a bitter feud – and a thundering applause.

The play by Bill Garner and Sue Gore features Katrina Rautenberg (Mrs Maggia), Jasper Garner Gore (Norman Lindsay), Richard Hilliar (Will Dyson), and Amy Scott-Smith (Ruby Lind) – all of who portray a distinct character (such as the perhaps jealous brother, the suffragette, or the hero of the working class) and exceptional vocal talent. Much credit is due to Rautenberg who gives Mrs Maggia a strong presence despite being so separated from her artistic counterparts.

The Ishmael Club theatre australia sydney world war 1
Katrina Rautenberg as Mrs Maggia in The Ishmael Club. Credit: Bakehouse Theatre Company

The Ishmael Club is showing at the Old Fitzroy Theatre, a unique space providing room for reflection as you are drawn deeply into the fictional world unfolding in front of you, and then brought back to reality by the soft murmur of a train passing by just outside or the chatter from the bar.

At just $22 a ticket it's a show you can't afford to miss. Kicking off at 9pm each night until July 18, there's even plenty of time to grab a drink and meal at the Old Fitzroy Hotel!
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*Stephanie McCann was invited as a guest
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When: 9pm
Where: The Old Fitzroy Theatre
Cost: $22
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