Reviewed by Paul Davies
Everything about this production was of the high standard we’ve come to expect from Independent. Direction, acting, light and sound. Casting, staging, set, period props and choice of play.
Conducting a staged reading though, that was interesting.
Alan Seymour wrote this play in 1958 after reading an Anzac-lambasting article in a student paper. It is a piece of its time, as much kitchen-sink drama as anti-war piece as the cognoscenti and students of the day reacted against the war in Vietnam as anything else. -The later point would have been obvious to the original audience, but may not be so to the modern.
Ostensibly about opinions on behaviour of Anzacs on Anzac day after the parade as they have a well-earned drink, this play doubtless has contributed to our nation’s gentrification and adoption of political correctness.
There is a difference between sentiment and sentimentality, there’s a big difference between remembrance and glorification, and these can be hard to appreciate. Sensibilities change between the generations, but opinions will always be divided as the lack of dénouement displays.
Seymour provides powerful soliloquies for most players that unfortunately highlight the difference between acting and reading. It is this difference in delivery that lets the whole thing down. I would like to ignore it and treat it as “it is what it is” but the hunched shoulders and delivery to the floor with book in hand I found distracting. The whole deserved better, and I think it warranted a proper run.