Friday, March 25, 2022



Written by Steve Rodgers

Directed by Blazey Best

Red Line Productions & Critical Stages Touring

Q Theatre, Queanbeyan to 26 March


Reviewed by Len Power 24 March 2022

You’d probably expect a play about violence against women to be written by a woman, but ‘King of Pigs’ has been written by male award-winning Australian playwright, Steve Rodgers.

The play tells multiple stories of domestic violence.  If the stories seem familiar, it’s not surprising.  Domestic violence statistics in this country are shocking and partner abuse is still a massively unreported crime.  Many of us have experienced these crimes in our own families or know of friends, neighbours and work colleagues who have suffered through these situations.  Television and newspaper reports of particularly horrific incidents of abuse and deaths occur with appalling regularity.

The stories presented in Steve Rodgers’ play deftly show what a minefield a relationship between a man and a woman can become if the potential for violence is there.  The lies, the promises to change, the shifting of blame and contrite emotional appeals can make it very difficult for a woman in a violent relationship originally based on love and affection to make clear choices about her future.  The fact that the outcomes of the stories presented in the play are hard for the audience to predict mirrors these situations in real life.

One actress, Kate Skinner, plays all of the women subjected to abuse in these stories.  Playing women of various ages, she is totally convincing as each character.  The men in the stories are given sharp and believable characterizations by four actors, Jason Chong, Tom Stokes, Anthony Yangoyan and Sam Alhaje.  On opening night, Nate Sammut gave a fine performance that showed an understanding of the impact on a child caught up in domestic violence.  Kick McKinnon will play the boy at other performances.

Director, Blazey Best, has given the play a strong, controlled production in all aspects.  She has obtained in depth performances from each of her actors and has given the production a striking and original theatricality.  Each scene plays like a snapshot of life with fast blackouts and quick resets by the actors between scenes.  The action within the scenes is smooth and natural and the physical violence, while strong, is artfully performed by the actors and over quickly.

The excellent and complex lighting plot by Verity Hampson is an important element of the atmosphere created by the director.  The simple set and costumes designed by Isabel Hudson are exactly right.

Although the play is about a tough subject that many people prefer to avoid, it does not preach its message.  It is stimulating because it is well-written and structured and has been given a strikingly good production.  If you’re undecided because of the subject matter, go because this play is thoroughly engaging for lovers of good theatre.


Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at