Directed by Neil Armfield, adapted by Andrew Bovell and designed by Stephen Curtis, THE SECRET RIVER is must see theatre, especially if you missed it the first time.
“Bovell amplifies the Indigenous presence and theatricality of the story by adding a female narrator, Dhirrumbin (also the Dharug name for the Hawkesbury). On her he bestows the poetry of the novel, with large stretches of narration that conjure up the outer turmoil of the environment and the inner emotional turmoil of our protagonists.
In his staging of the work, Armfield underlines the theatrical artifice, underscoring the ways in which ‘history’ is wrapped up with perspective and narrative. He marshalls text and performance and image to create an epic blend of Indigenous storytelling and Western music hall or vaudeville tradition (musician Isaac Hayward is on stage at all times, either on piano or cello), with a cinematic soundtrack (by Iain Grandage) to match…It’s no small feat that the dramatic beats of this multifaceted story are perfectly plotted and paced, both within the scenes and in transition between them. You find yourself drawn into the situation and completely entranced, childlike. The performers appear similarly engrossed, deep in their characters. It can’t be an easy story to re-enact night after night, and many of them struggle visibly with barely withheld emotions during the curtain calls.”
– Time Out Magazine
Read the full review here.