Finally, after 51 (or is it 52?) plays and the same number of years, David Williamson has turned his satirical blowtorch onto his own industry in this latest offering at the Ensemble Theatre on Sydney’s lower North Shore.
He says, “If you’re a struggling writer or actor who hasn’t made ‘The Big Time‘… being near the bottom of the entertainment ladder is one of the most miserable existences on earth.”
This is the life his leading character Rohan (Jeremy Waters) has been living for 15 years while his partner, the much younger Celia (Aileen Huynh), has supported him through her role in a soapie, which she prefers to call a “continuing drama.”
Rohan’s best mate Rolly (Ben Wood) hands him an untidy manuscript, wanting his friend to comment on it. When Rohan finally does, he realises there is a sellable idea in its pages and considers not giving his friend any credit or recompense for his effort.
Complications arise with the entrance of Celia’s rival Vicki (Claudia Barrie), Zoe Carides as the agent Nelli, and the producer Nate (Matt Minto), all of whom are ruthless in their struggle to make money and/or get to the top.
Although the pace of the first half is a little slow, the betrayals and backstabbing come thick and fast in the second half, leaving the audience gasping at Williamson’s rapier wit.
Director Mark Kilmurray evokes terrific performances from his cast and, once again, Williamson’s satire can be applied to life beyond the world of the theatre.
Until Mar 16. Ensemble Theatre, 78 McDougall St, Kirribilli. $38-$80+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.ensemble.com.au
Reviewed by Irina Dunn