Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Hannie Rayson has written many good Australian plays over the last 37 years, some very successful. Two Brothers must be amongst the best. The script is well crafted, covers many well-documented themes and yet is as fresh as when it was written in 2005. This production is well suited to Holden Street Theatre and the open design allows the many scenes to flow at a cracking pace, all aided by Richard Parkhill’s excellent lighting.
The well-chosen cast give strong performances, especially the two brothers, Brant and Michael Eustice as James “Eggs” Benedict and Tom Benedict. These roles could have been written specifically for these two, with their extensive experience in theatre and their natural fraternal association. Brant is ideal as the blustering would-be Prime Minister, already in Cabinet but reaching for more. Michael is thoroughly believable as the Humanitarian Tom, fighting for the refugees and the underprivileged. Very important to the plot is a refugee, Hazem Al Ayad, played with understanding by Fahad Farooque.
The wives are played by Lyn Wilson (Fiona Benedict) and Tracey Walker (Angela Sidoropoulos) and the sons by Joshua Mensch (Harry Benedict) and Joshua Coldwell (Lachlan Benedict). Wilson portrays the uptight politician’s wife, uneasy with her husband’s stance on things and protective of her son Lachlan. Wilson conveys the dilemma she faces, proud of his naval career, but fearful having already lost one son. Walker gives Tom’s partner fire and empathy for Fiona’s position. She too is fiercely protective of her son Harry and his attempts to free himself from drugs. Both Mensch and Coldwell do a good job revealing Harry’s struggles and Lachlan’s uncertainty.
The other major player is Alicia Zorkovic as Jamie Savage, the Minister’s assistant/mistress. Zorkovic makes her strong and cold and at times completely in control, a fine performance. Cheryl Douglas giving them separate personalities fills the other roles of Maid, Interviewer and Therapist well.
The plot has echoes from previous scandals, both here and abroad, but is frighteningly relevant, but laced with humor. Definitely not one to miss!
Two Brothers: Brant and Michael Eustice photo by Richard Parkhill