Tue 11 – Sat 15 Nov
Thu & Sat mats 2.30pm
The full house watched in silent awe as the play started with a flogging-admittedly off stage- in penal era Australia of 1789. Billed as a comedy one might wonder at the appeal of gallows’ humour. Some audiences will find the language realistically earthy, others might think it coarse or even vulgar.
The set was very realistic being rustic simplicity in itself. The costumes very realistic. The men looked fine in their bright scarlet uniforms.Simon Darwen as Governor Phillip gave a particularly sterling performance. Yet the women were dressed down in bulky skirts with facial spots and sores liberally painted on. Spitting at the colony’s hangman didn’t endear them further. However Anna Tierney’s portrayal of Duckling Smith was appealing for the sensitivity she showed even in those appalling conditions.
A sobering reflection of humanity in adversity with a moral undertone on crime and punishment. At the same time humour and compassion shine through.
Max Stafford-Clark’s acclaimed revival of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Olivier Award winning play OUR COUNTRY’S GOOD visits Theatre Royal Brighton from Tue 11 – Sat 15 Nov as part of a limited tour.
Inspired by real events, and based on The Playmaker, a novel by Thomas Keneally (who also wrote Schindler’s List), OUR COUNTRY’S GOOD is the story of convicts and officers newly arrived in Australia after travelling across the world. There, an earnest and ambitious young marine officer, Ralph Clark, attempts to direct the prisoners in a play. As the barriers between captors and captives break down, they start to discover each other, both onstage and behind the scenes.
25 years ago, OUR COUNTRY’S GOOD premiered at the Royal Court Theatre before transferring to the West End and Broadway, winning major awards on both sides of the Atlantic. This new production – by the same director, Max Stafford-Clark – toured to great acclaim.
Stafford-Clark says, “Twenty-five years ago we had no idea that OUR COUNTRY’S GOOD would become such a much-loved classic. The story takes place in a fascinating period of history, the late 18th century, when powerful new ideas of justice and society were being explored. The play is a love story and a comedy, but more importantly it celebrates the power of theatre itself to humanise us. It has been a pleasure to return to the play and to bring it to a new generation of theatre-goers. It still has much to teach us, and its power to move and entertain is undiminished.”
0844 871 7650*
(booking fee applies)