Saturday, July 22, 2023




Lexi Sekuless as Mary Margaret and Oliver Bailey
as Timothy in Good Works

Good Works by Nick Enright. 

Directed by Julian Meyrick. Production design and costumes by Kathleen Kershaw. Composition and sound design. Damien Ashcroft. Lighting design team. Stefan Wronski. Jennifer Wright. Tim Sekuless. Choreographer Belynda Buck. Stage Manager. Jess Morris. Lexi Sekuless Productions. Major Event Partner. Elite Event Technology. Event supporter. Events ACT. The Mill Theatre. July 12 – August 12 2023. Bookings: Humanitix.

Reviewed by Peter Wilkins

Adele Querol as Rita. Helen McFarlane as Mrs. Kennedy and
Lexi Sekuless as Mary Margaret in Good Works

In 1994, critic Angela Bennie wrote about playwright Nick Enright’s latest play Good Works in the Sydney Morning Herald: “It is without doubt destined to become a major work in the Australian Theatre” In The Australian John McCallum noted “It is an exciting work by an experienced writer who has finally found his personal voice.”  Sadly the writer of such works as Blackrock, The Boy From Oz and Lorenzo’s Oil died prematurely at the age of 52. His death came as a huge loss to the Australian theatre. Fortunately, director and theatre historian Julian Meyrick has been invited by Lexi Sekuless to revive Enright’s startlingly personal memory play at her Mill Theatre on Dairy Road. It has proven to be an inspired choice, not only because of Bennie’s prophesy but because of the outstanding ensemble that Meyrick has cast to mount a professional production of the highest standard. It is impossible not to be intrigued by Meyrick’s skilfully directed production. 

Oliver Bailey as Tim. Martin Everett as Shane
Good Works tells the story of two mothers and their sons over a period of 60 years. The action jumps back and forth from the childhoods of Mary Margaret (Lexi Sekuless) and Rita Kennedy (Adele Querol) and their sons Timothy Donovan (Oliver Bailey) and Shane Grogan (Martin Everett) to their adult lives.  Like memories the scenes jump back and forth in vignettes of each character’s life. Meyrick in fine dramaturgical style has cleverly used designer Kathleen Kershaw’s painted swirl design upon the stage as an interlinking arena in which Mary Margaret and Rita’s childhood friendship changes as they develop into antagonistic adulthood. So too do we witness the emerging sexual chemistry between the sensitive and sickly Tim and the troubled Shane. Sekuless and Querol play the roles of Mary Margaret and Rita from girlhood to motherhood throughout while the other four actors change roles as Enright’s intertwined scenes unfold. Bailey and Everett play the boys and the other’s father, the violent Eddie Grogan (Bailey) and the autocratic Donovan Senior’s compliant son, Neil (Everett)  while Helen McFarlane and Neil Pigot play multiple roles. To the credit of Meryck’s direction and the sharply observed performances by each actor every character is superbly played with thorough conviction. Enright assures that stereotype is avoided by providing contrast . Pigot’s chilling portrayal of the sadistic Brother is contrasted by McFarlane’s gentle performance of the kindly nun.

Neil Pigot as Brother in Good Works

Good Works tests an audience’s commitment to intellectual rigour and empathy. Enright’s themes of family relationships, friendship, sexuality, Catholicism, domestic violence and social status are as relevant today as they were during the period of Enright’s family drama. In the ideal intimacy of the Mill Theatre, Lexi Sekuless Production’s staging of Good Works  confirms Bennie’s 1995 prediction. Good Works is more than a classic of the Australian stage. It is a profound and compelling account of the frailties and strengths of the human condition, performed with enormous heart and humanity by the Mill Theatre’s brilliant cast and creatives. Like a jigsaw, it may take some time for the pieces to fit together but the journey and the discovery will be well worth the experience.  The Mill Theatre only seats 67 in its small space, so be sure to secure your tickets for this outstanding production of a classic revival. It is not to be missed.

Photos by Daniel Abroguena