Cosi by Louis Nowra
Reviewed by Frank McKone
Director – Sarah Goodes; Set Designer – Dale Ferguson; Costume Designer – Jonathon Oxlade; Lighting Designer – Niklas Pajanti; Composer & Sound Designer – Chris Williams; Fight Choreographer – Dr Lyndal Grant
Gabriel Fancourt – Zac/Nick Esther Hannaford – Julie/Lucy
Glenn Hazeldine – Henry Bessie Holland – Cherry
Sean Keenan – Lewis Robert Menzies – Roy
Rahel Romahn – Doug Katherine Tonkin – Ruth
George Zhao – Justin
Photos by Jeff Busby
|L-R: Rahel Romahn, Robert Menzies, Sean Keenan and George Zhao|
as Doug, Roy, Lewis and Justin in Cosi by Louis Nowra
|Rahel Romahn and Sean Keenan|
as Doug and Lewis in Cosi by Louis Nowra
|Esther Hannaford as Julie in Cosi by Louis Nowra|
Though ‘mental asylums’ of this kind are now a thing of the past, having flown over the cuckoo’s nest, it struck me as significant that the original production of Cosi – in 1992 – was already looking back 25 years to the days of Vietnam War ‘moratorium’ marches (which I had taken part in), described by the Australian National Museum as meaning ‘a halt to business as usual’.
The Miramax film of 1996 had the subtitle ‘Cosi: A Comedy That’s Not Quite All There’, but Doyle – despite becoming for all intents and purposes his ‘stage’ name Louis Nowra and naming his autobiographical character ‘Lewis’ – was clearly ‘all there’ as far as the seemingly insane politics of 1960s' Prime Ministers Menzies, Holt, Gorton and McMahon were concerned. As Shakespeare realised, setting his play in ‘another country’ in the past opens up the opportunity for universal meaning.
Presenting the play now, after another 30 years, also opened up for Melbourne Theatre Company opportunities for new thinking about acting, stage design, costuming and technicals. Sarah Goodes and her team grasped them all with every hand. Rahel Romahn’s Doug made me seriously wonder if the other bane of Shakespeare’s career – burning down the theatre – might really happen. While the bane of Doug’s pyromaniac career, Bessie Holland as Cherry, nearly brought the house down.
|Bessi Holland and Katherine Tonkin|
as Cherry and Ruth
in Cosi by Louis Nowra
So if you can take up the opportunity, make the journey to Sydney Opera House. December 14 is barely a month away, but I can promise you any trip, like my 300 kilometres from Canberra, is absolutely well worth it.
|Robert Menzies, Esther Hannaford, Glenn Hazeldine, Katherine Tonkin and Sean Keenan|
as Roy, Julie, Henry, Ruth and Lewis in Cosi by Louis Nowra
performing as characters in Cosi Fan Tutte by Mozart