David Williamson’s 1987 play, Emerald City centers around about the film and publishing industries in Australia. It begins with the age-old Sydney Vs Melbourne argument.
Colin (Isaac Reilly) and his book editor wife, Kate (Victoria Tyrell Dixon)
have just moved with their family of three children from Melbourne to Sydney.
taken by the excitement of the harbor city, contrasting its climate of sunshine
punctuated by dramatic downpours with Melbourne’s endless drizzle. To him,
success means a harbor view and he’s on the road to the waterfront.
merciless in criticising Kate’s virtue-signaling Melbourne friends. Kate takes
it in her stride. Her career is also on the up, over the course of the play she
publishes a successful novel by an Aboriginal writer that is shortlisted for
the Booker prize.
to have complete responsibility for their three children. She provides progress
updates about issues of concern to a barely interested Colin. His main interest
seems to be pointing out her hypocrisy in enrolling one of their daughters in a
Colin is a
successful screenwriter but he’s tired of writing action films that aspire to
an American audience. He wants Australians to tell our own stories. To Colin
that means stories about white men in times of war.
idea is declined by both his savvy Sydney producer, Elaine (Helen McFarlane)
and his financier, Malcolm (Patrick Collins).
(Daniel Greiss) is an aspiring screenwriter who agrees to support Colin’s
project in order to have a writing credit to launch his career.
partner Helen (Hannah Lance) seems to exist only to be a temptress, enabling
Williamson to show us what a great guy Colin really is.
have seldom seemed so long ago to me as while watching Williamson’s 1987 play
about the glamour of the arts in a converted community hall in Causeway in
satiric show has a lot of words and not much action. Free-rain stages it like a
boozy comedy of manners.
Tyrell Dixon is strong and confident as Kate. Isaac Riley portrays Colin’s
utter lack of self-awareness with gormless charm.
McFarlane’s Elaine added a fun energy to the show.
has not aged as well as some of Williamson’s other works. It feels overwritten
and the many direct addresses to the audience seem largely redundant.
The ACT Hub
is a promising new addition to Canberra’s theatre venues. It is being run by
four local theatre companies. It’s comfortable and well heated with ample