Will Drummond is bewildered. All the old certainties are coming apart. His father has died, his mother is dying, theatre is not what it used to be, and characters from plays keep appearing. People around him are losing their minds and losing faith, the world is shrinking, and what does it even mean to live in a society anymore? Then, suddenly, Will finds himself sitting by his mother’s bedside in a hospital room on the north coast of New South Wales; his task is to turn bewilderment into clarity before it is too late.
This is Gow’s first play since 2007’s Toy Symphony and it mines similar territory: the encroachment of middle-age, how the world changes while you’re not paying attention, how dreams and ambitions drift.
From the intimate to the epic, director Eamon Flack (Angels in America) crafts heartfelt productions of great beauty. Along with regular collaborators Alan John (composer), Mel Page (costume designer) and Nick Schlieper (set and lighting designer), he will create a world that closely resembles ours but leaves open the distinct possibility of magic.
A truly remarkable cast has been assembled for Once in Royal David’s City, including Brendan Cowell (Miss Julie) as Will and Helen Morse (The Eye of the Storm) as his mother. The ensemble includes stage legends like Helen Buday (Babyteeth), Lola Nixon (Billy Elliot the Musical) Tara Morice (An Officer and a Gentleman, Gordon Frost Organisation) and Anthony Phelan (Hamlet), along with promising newcomer Harry Greenwood (Fury, Sydney Theatre Company).
Once in Royal David’s City is big and small all at once. Tumbling from the fifties to the present, from West Berlin to Byron Bay, from brief encounters to the cycles of history. It is about mothers and sons, lost innocence, omnipresent death. It is about rage and it is about the brilliant possibilities of theatre.
Once in Royal David’s City
Belvoir St Theatre, 25 Belvoir St, Surry Hills
Season: 8 February – 23 March 2014
Bookings: (02) 9699 3444 or online at: www.belvoir.com.au
For more information, visit: www.belvoir.com.au for details.
Image: Brendan Cowell