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  • Cheryl Osborne

Black Swan Theatre

The Torrents by Oriel Gray (from Gwyn's pen): Jointly with Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, The Torrents won the joint Playwrights’ award in 1955 but this performance by the Sydney Theatre Company is only the second time it has been staged. Surprising, as it is a very accessible naturalistic play with a range of archetypal characters that would appeal to any small theatre company. It is set in the in the newsroom of the Koolgalla Argus in the 1890s in a mining town where the gold is running out. It centres on the appointment of JG Milford, as the new reporter and a young engineer’s vision of bringing irrigation to the town to replace the mining industry. Much to the consternation of the staff and financial backer, the J stands for Jenny, played by Celia Pasquola (Utopia, Rosehaven), one of my favourite actors, who also delivered an added introduction which had the packed theatre putty in her hands from the outset. As the action played out, issues of feminism, relationships, capitalism and innovation are gradually resolved through the quiet intervention of JG. The set was a standout, casting faultless, all the acting was very convincing, some perhaps a little overblown, but the play lent itself to that. The program notes compare Oriel Gray to GB Shaw, George Bernard she is not, but serious messages are delivered in an amusing way. It was a very pleasant experience on a cold wet night; judging from this year’s line-up, anyone contemplating signing up for Black Swan next year can be assured that the new managing director will present plays that are not designed to confound or disturb



J is for Jenny

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