AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
16/02/2013 - 09/03/2013
Compelling family conflict
All families have their troubles. The Westons have more than most.
When the patriarch of the household mysteriously vanishes, the Weston family home becomes a pressure cooker of secrets, tensions and tragedy.
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY is a wickedly sharp and intimate portrayal of modern-day, middle-class Oklahoma by internationally acclaimed playwright, Tracy Letts.
“An unforgettable and incendiary piece of theatre. A superb play with every role in its large cast a tour de force.” – Ross Gumbley, Artistic Director
IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the running time of this production, performances on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays will begin at 7pm.
** Coarse language and content may offend **
16 February 2013 – 9 March 2013
Running time: 3 hours 30 minutes.
2008 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play
2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
2008 Tony Award for Best Play.
Mon, Thurs 6:30pm
Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat 7:00pm
Matinee 2pm Saturday 16 February 2013
Adults $48, Seniors $41, Supporters $39, Under-25 $29, School Children $19, Group (20+) $39 each.
John Bach: Beverly
Yvonne Martin: Violet
Eilish Moran: Barbara
Jude Gibson: Mattie Fae
Bruce Phillips: Charlie
Phil Vaughan: Steve
Martyn Wood: Little Charles
Ross McKellar: Bill
Katherine Kennard: Ivy
Juliet Reynolds-Midgley: Karen
Kim Garret: Johanna
Phoebe McKellar: Jean
Adam Brookfield: Sheriff Deon
3 hrs 30 mins incl. 2 intervals
Review by Lindsay Clark 17th Feb 2013
Family secrets and lies offer endless scope for writers and fascination for audiences. The permutations are boundless. Nevertheless, three acts’ worth over three and a half hours (including two intervals) might be faced with trepidation and it is hugely to the credit of Stephanie McKellar-Smith and her talented team that this production of Letts’ acclaimed drama earned a standing ovation from opening night punters.
Contemporary Oklahoma is the setting, as a middle-class American family faces the aftermath of the patriarch’s suicide. Beverly Weston is an aging poet for whom alcohol has replaced the dark muse of his inspiration. But before he takes steps to drown himself, he engages a Cheyenne woman, Johnna, to be a watching and sustaining presence for his wife, who is herself addicted to the drugs which should be making life easier.
Weston’s disappearance and death force close contact for the whole family and the inevitable unravelling of the ties that bind them, as first one relationship and then another is held up to the harsh light of their new reality. Scene after scene lays bare the fabric of couples and sisters, parents and children, involving three generations and by association a whole society. Only Johnna, secure in her roots and patient in her unenviable job with this volatile family, seems to emerge unchanged.
The play builds steadily, as raw emotions are unleashed to several scenes of shocking intensity. Never short of crisp one liners, each scene contributes to the overall jigsaw, layering character and implication in a neat progression. What at first sight seems a vast set (from the meticulous design of Mark McEntyre) resonates with ‘adversarial’ revelations.
That word comes from the mouth of widow Violet Weston, the feisty matriarch who will be reduced to a whimpering shadow of her former self by the end of things. It is hard to imagine a more finely judged portrayal than the one crafted by Yvonne Martin. Imperious, demented and dignified in turn, it is she who demands the time for ‘truth telling’ which will change the dynamics of the family forever.
She is matched by Eilish Moran playing daughter Barbara Fordham, a bundle of spiky cynicism, facing down a failed marriage and her inability to manage the disintegration around her. From the whole cast, strong performances ensure that the forward drive of the play is never lost.
Sympathetic lighting design from Joe Hayes, whose spectrum suggests the burnt out end of summer, complemented by sound design from Hamish Oliver and perceptive costuming from Annie Graham ensures that the production operates as an organic whole, and an effective one.
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