Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Bleeding Tree

Airlie Dodds, Paula Arundell and Shari Sebbens
in The Bleeding Tree
Photo by Brett Boardman
The Bleeding Tree by Angus Cerini.  Griffin Theatre Company production presented by Sydney Theatre Company at Wharf 1, March 9 – April 8, 2017.

Director – Lee Lewis
Designers: Set – Renee Mulder; Lighting – Verity Hampson; Composer – Steve Toulmin.

Paula Arundell, Airlie Dodds and Shari Sebbens
Reviewed by Frank McKone
March 13

When last I stayed at Lightning Ridge, a bushman’s tales brightened my day,
Tales of old, of men made of gold, all strength and warmth in the family way.
But here’s a tale of a real right bastard, from somewhere maybe down Wagga Wagga way,
Apparently with a bitch of a sister who lives somewhere else, ‘up north’, instead,
At least that was what was ‘discovered’ after the bastard was dead.
Well ... that’s what all the locals said.
Pissed down the pub, never got home to bed,
Gone to visit his sis.  Everyone knew, but, yeah, that’s all good.
Of course, his wife had shot him, as you would
After years and years of his bashings, tongue lashings
And violent sex on wife and daughters, was all our belief.
Stringing him up was a just relief.
There’s always some humour in the worst of life, but,
And so it was that the postman-cum-policeman’s mutt
Got her revenge, never forgot the smell of the bloke
Who stomped on her pups and made them all croak.
And he certainly smelt after days numbered three,
Hung with block and tackle up in that tree,
Now down on the ground, chooks gobbling maggoty muck,
The copper calls Bluey out of his truck.
He gives the command: Chomp up those bones, Blue!
And this is all true, as I say to you,
Absolutely True Blue.
For yourself go and see
The Bleeding Tree.

Thanks to Angus Cerini for the inspiration, to Lee Lewis for precise directing of what can be seen as powerful ‘performance’ poetry, to Renee Mulder for such a simple looking but very effective stage design, and to all three actors, led by Paula Arundell as the mother – survivor of the worst kind of family violence.