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March 30, 2018 / basabbott

Fatal Shore


Our Country’s Good
New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

Transportation, for things like stealing a hankie, was the nearest thing to hell on earth.
Ocean sounds greet the audience, a reminder that this is The Fatal Shore of Robert Hughes’ grim book.
With survival itself at stake, in 18th century Australia, putting on a play was bizarre. But Farquhar’s comedy The Recruiting Officer proved to be a batty kind of therapy.
Timberlake Wertenbaker’s play is a crowd-pleaser, showing the redeeming power of art.
At times it seems a bit contrived. You can imagine the writer sitting with a period glossary, putting in lowlife expressions.
But Fiona Buffini’s production, for Ramps on the Moon, is all the more effective for its cast of deaf and disabled actors. Like the convicts, they triumph against the odds. 
By signs and screen text, with enthusiasm and in rags, the show goes on. Their efforts provide an eloquent argument against cutting arts funding.

Basil Abbott 

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