Radio NZ Drama Online, Global

08/04/2020 - 31/05/2020

COVID-19 Lockdown Festival 2020

Production Details

By Simon Ferry and Tim Spite

An adaptation of Simon Ferry’s hit solo stage show about his father Jock Ferry’s experiences during and after the Second World War. It focuses on Jock’s wartime experience as an infantryman and how it shaped his life when he returned home.

Lullaby Jock by Simon Ferry & Tim Spite

Broadcast 3 Nov 2013

 Listen duration51′ :59″ 

Cast: Simon Ferry, Tim Spite, Christopher Brougham, Russell Smith, Nikki MacDonnell, Alex Grieg and Brian Sergent,
with Bruno Smith, Nina Smith, Gus Langbein and Sebastian Macaulay.

Theatre , Audio (podcast) ,

52 mins

Skilfully blended realities

Review by Ruth Allison 08th Apr 2020

This is Simon Ferry’s father’s story and it is a good one. It’s one that needs to be told because my millennial children need to hear it. They know about war and have seen action through the medium of movies but they are a generation removed from the personal impact of returning combatants.

Jock Ferry personifies many men returning from WW11 who witnessed the horrors of war and are struggling to forget, forced to return to family, jobs and neighbourhood. The men who shared his nightmares are themselves haunted, unable to offer comfort. Silence was considered the way to move on.

Jock Ferry is a man of his times. He tells coarse jokes, often against women, he grapples with family life and hides his fears with wild stories – so much so that his son fails to understand the truth when he does tell it. His career as a primary school teacher appears to work for the most part but Jock will not acknowledge when his style of teaching becomes outdated and has to be persuaded to retire. Alcohol is a significant factor, adversely affecting his relationships with his wife and children and his friends. 

All of this, his son Simon Ferry is not afraid to script into his play. The details of his father’s experiences in the war are shockingly explicit. Ferry has collated anecdotes about his father that brings the man fully to life. You can feel sorry for him but ultimately Jock turns out to be not very likeable. Early on in the play Jock is given the opportunity to look out from his coffin and comment on his life but he does not use this opportunity well. He doesn’t reflect or apologise and that opportunity is lost.

A disturbingly effective sound track follows Jock’s story. The noises of war transmute into his current world, blending skilfully until almost indistinguishable. The voices of Jock and his comrades are distinctly New Zealand of the 50s and 60s. This is a play to be heard, a play for all seasons.


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