Melbourne crime writer June Wright wrote six novels between 1948 and 1966, all with witty dialogue and a strong-willed female amateur 'detective'. Her life and work have been celebrated in exhibitions of detective fiction across Australia. They are now being brought to stage for the first time in Factory Space Theatre Company's opening show for the 2018 season: The Devil's Caress.
The Devil's Caress is a psychological thriller, inspired by the saying: 'Doubt is the Devil's Caress'. A stranger-in-town warns Dr Marsh Mowbray with those very words as the bright, young doctor finds herself in a race against time to prove that her beloved mentor, the stately Dr Katherine Waring, is not a murderer.
The setting is the isolated clifftop home of Dr Waring and her surgeon husband Kingsley. Waves crash and winds howl as the prerequisite number of interesting persons gather: 'as odd a collection of medicos as ever snatched an appendix,' as The Argus put it. It's all very Agatha Christie-esque –apart from taking place on a 'fictional' peninsula in Victoria – hmmm, wonder where that could be…
Interwoven with this classic murder mystery is the story of June Wright herself. In 1950's post-war Melbourne, the newspapers didn't know what to make of the 'slim, vivacious' housewife who wrote gory stories (The Argus). She was portrayed as a mother of six (boy, girl, twin boys, girl, boy), then as a housewife and then (maybe) as a writer with headlines like: 'Wrote thriller with her baby on her knee!' (Australian Women's Weekly).
Writer Wendy Lewis specialises in true crime and Australian history. She trawled libraries and newspaper archives to adapt the novel to stage, as well as speaking to June Wright's family…and is most grateful for their help and enthusiasm!
Founder and Artistic Director of Factory Space Theatre, Roz Riley is, as always, right in the middle of rehearsals. Roz has directed hundreds of extraordinary productions ranging from Edward Albee to Moira Buffini in her distinctly innovative and intelligent style.
Tickets on sale now: www.factoryspace.org
written by Wendy Lewis
based on the novel by June Wright
directed by Roz Riley
Factory Space Theatre is an independent company of professional actors.
Friday 23 March 2018 to Saturday 14 April 2018
Friday/Saturday nights at 7.30pm; Sunday matinees at 2pm
No performances over Easter weekend