Saturday, June 10, 2023


Written by David Cole

Directed by Jock McLean

Q Theatre, Queanbeyan to June 10


Reviewed by Len Power 9 June 2023


In this youth-oriented world, it’s not often that we see plays about older people and the issues they face.  ‘The Waltz’ is an Australian play about two past radicals who meet again in their twilight years.

Once part of the Sydney Push, a large, loose grouping of libertarians and nonconformists who talked, loved, drank and partied in the pubs of inner Sydney in the 1960s, the man and woman meet by chance on a park bench overlooking Bondi Beach. Warily ‘waltzing’ around each other at first, they realize that they knew each other all those years ago. Now in their 70s, they find themselves drawn together.

David Cole’s play is a character piece that gives us two characters who show you’re never too old to find love. The woman is feisty, forward and determined to live independently.

He is recovering from the effects of a stroke which has left his thoughts and speech affected. Drawing portraits of past acquaintances gives him comfort during his recovery. It’s a drawing of one of those friends known to both of them that bring the two people together.

Pauline Mullen and Martin Sanders give fine, heart-felt performances as this couple. They display considerable depth in their characterizations especially with their unspoken emotional responses.

Pauline Mullen and Martin Sanders

David Cole’s play is strong on character and laced with humour, but the scene where the man, while alone, declares his anguish and frustration about the couple’s past relationship doesn’t ring true and goes on too long. The ending of the play seems a bit contrived.

Jock McLean’s direction of the play has achieved considerable depth in the performances of his actors. The production was too spare and looked a bit lost on the wide Q Theatre stage.  The centrepiece of the settting - a hill overlooking Bondi - was just a park bench on a few scuffed rostra with a black curtain behind it.  It needed more imagination to lift the show from feeling like a rehearsal.

The well-chosen music from the 60s that weaves in and out of the play adds considerable atmosphere.

Overall, this is a fine character play exploring aspects of ageing in our community.


Photo By Geoff Moseley

This review was first published by Canberra CityNews digital edition on 10 June 2023.

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