15–17 June 2017
Our Country’s Good
By Timberlake Wertenbaker
Sydney Cove, Australia, in the 1780s. The first British settlers – a motley collection of convicted criminals and undesirables under the guard of Royal Marines – have established a penal colony. The Governor of the colony, Captain Arthur Phillip, favours reform over punishment and assigns a theatre enthusiast, young Second Lieutenant Ralph Clark, to direct the inmates in a performance of George Farquhar’s ‘The Recruiting Officer’.
With no previous experience and a mixture of thieves, whores and ruffians in the cast, there’s a fair share of dark comedy in the process. Ralph’s task becomes even harder when he realises that some of the cast can’t even even read the script, rehearsals are halted for floggings, and one of his leading ladies is on trial for petty theft and may be hanged before opening night.
Yet despite such setbacks, Captain Phillip’s hopes are realised as the convicts, in the process of pretending to be Restoration ladies and fops, reveal their true and better selves.