Written in 1988 based upon The Playmaker by Thomas Keneally, Our Country's Good tells the real-life story of the first play to be performed in Australia in 1789. Due to the over crowding of prisons in England at the end of the 18th century, many convicts were transported to Australia, this story follows the first fleet to arrive there (in 1788) and their journey towards the production of George Farquhar's The Recruiting Officer. A pertinent play, which strongly promotes the redemptive and restorative power of theatre. Acknowledging the oft recognised therapeutic qualities of its collaborative and rigorous structure, Our Country's Good not only demonstrates the strength of theatrical allegory, but also of the community behind it.
Written beautifully to depict the strength of our human condition, Wertenbaker reminds us of the vulnerability, tenderness and capacity for love that the condemned also embody. The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School have been stunningly directed by Gemma Fairlie to add powerful depths and heavily nuanced personalities to the characters presented. Thus, enhancing the powerful message of humanity and our transcendental ability to overcome even the harshest of circumstances that we have have been subjected to.
I must note the spectacular quality of this performance. The strength of the ensemble and unilaterally dynamic performances from all involved, coupled with the functional, yet highly aesthetic Set Design by Dawn Allsopp truly makes this version of Our Country's Good one to remember.
(c) Naia Headland-Vanni 2016