Ask Audrey Ask Audrey
Archived

Boy Out of the Country

"The triteness in parts of the play is hard to overcome"

Audrey review: What begins promisingly as a story about a man’s resistance to change devolves into sudsy small town melodrama.

Text size
Text size
Add to favourites

Boy Out of the Country

Date: 12 May 2019

Regional concerns come to Bondi in the shape of Felix Nobis’ Boy Out of the Country, a family drama set in regional Victoria.

Its protagonist is Hunter (played by Tom Harwood), who has returned to his hometown after seven years away. Much has changed.

Investors have bought up tracts of land for housing developments. The main street shops have gone, killed off by a new supermarket. The bank is now a café called The Bank and the historic police lock-up is about to be shuttered.

But hardest of all for Hunter is the sight of the home he grew up in with mum Margaret and older brother Gordon (Jason Glover). Boarded up and fenced off, it’s about to be sold at auction.

The paddocks Hunter used to roam are already being staked out for residential estates and Margaret (Jeannie Gee) has been steered into a gloomy retirement home by Gordon, who stands to profit handsomely from any deal he can strike with developers. Hunter decides to put a stop to the sale, even if means cutting whatever family ties he has left.

Drawing on the tradition of the Bush poets, Nobis rhymes much of the dialogue, most of it quite subtly. Most of the time, you aren’t really aware of it. His language and bristles with salty turns of phrase you seldom hear in our coastal cities these days, but that directness isn’t apparent in the storytelling.

Explanatory speeches tend to ramble and a plot twist involving a DNA paternity test conducted by the garrulous local cop Walker (played by Stan Kouros) seems implausible.

What begins promisingly as a story about a man’s resistance to change devolves into sudsy small town melodrama reminiscent of A Country Practice.

Director Erica Lovell’s production is a skeletal one played on a set of colourfully lit corrugated iron and wooden boxes (Tom Bannerman). The triteness in parts of the play is hard to overcome but led by Harwood, the cast generate some involving moments between solidly drawn and well-shaded characters.

Will The Boy Out of the Country strike a chord with a big smoke audience? You’d have to be an optimist to think it might.

Content
Extinction of the Learned Response
Add to favourites
ArchivedBelvoir Downstairs, Surry Hills, Sydney 7 - 25 May 2019

Extinction of the Learned Response

Audrey review: Emme Hoy's tantalising new play revolves around a sinister experiment.

Small Mouth Sounds
Add to favourites
ArchivedEternity Playhouse, Darlinghurst, Sydney 3 - 26 May 2019

Small Mouth Sounds

Audrey review: Bess Wohl's comedy speaks in the broken semaphore of six people trying to get along.

Winyanboga Yurringa
Add to favourites
ArchivedBelvoir, Surry Hills, Sydney 4 - 26 May 2019

Winyanboga Yurringa

Audrey review: A rambunctious and resonant testimony to the indomitable resilience and diversity of Australian Indigenous women.

See More

More to see

View All
Blood on the Cat’s Neck
Add to favourites
ArchivedThe Bordello, Level 4 Kings Cross Hotel, Sydney 22 May - 1 Jun 2019

Blood on the Cat’s Neck

Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Blood on the Cat's Neck views the world through the eyes of an alien observer, Phoebe Zeitgeist.

Cyprus Avenue
Add to favourites
ArchivedOld Fitzroy Theatre, Woolloomooloo, Sydney 15 May - 8 Jun 2019

Cyprus Avenue

Playwright David Ireland hurls a grenade at the politics of identity and the madness of bigotry.

Normal
Add to favourites
ArchivedOld 505 Theatre, Newtown, Sydney 29 May - 15 Jun 2019

Normal

Katie Pollock's play is inspired by a true story of a town gripped by a mysterious affliction.

Teacher of the Year
Add to favourites
ArchivedPACT, Erskineville, Sydney 21 - 25 May 2019

Teacher of the Year

Tom Hogan returns to PACT with an irreverent lecture series exploring ideas on active listening and music history.

Top