Inspired by a true story, Melissa Reeves creates a whimsical study of small-town Australia, Cold War fear-mongering, friendship and betrayal, laced with dry humour and keenly observed relationships in The Spook at the New Theatre until 9 April 2022.
It’s 1965, and things are a bit slow in the South Bendigo branch of the Communist Party of Australia. Sales of The Tribune have slumped, no one’s very interested in the resident Maoist’s slide nights about life in China, and lighting a revolutionary fire in the belly of rural Victoria isn’t progressing too well.
Enter Martin, a young and eager recruit, whose zeal is welcomed by the group, including Greek couple George and Eli Tassakis, even as his mum despairs of his long hair and his rejection of church and army reserve. But Martin has a secret: he’s been recruited by ASIO to spy on the comrades, and he’s about to get his new friends into serious trouble.
Reeves is an unashamedly left-wing writer, with a bent for political theatre which includes a stint at the Melbourne Workers Theatre where she co-authored Who’s Afraid of the Working Class, produced at New Theatre in 2001. Her idols include Bertolt Brecht, Franca Rame and Dario Fo, and she believes left-wing theatre makes the best theatre!
In light of New Theatre’s own fraught history with ASIO’s ‘spooks’, and the recent sabre-rattling by the conservatives regarding China and its influence (shades of Menzies’ ‘reds under the beds’ scare-mongering), it’s rather fitting that this razor-sharp and very funny Australian political satire is being given its Sydney revival on our stage.
Director: Rosane McNamara | Featuring: Tristan Black, Lib Campbell, Zoe Crawford, Sage McAteer, Jack Elliot Mitchell, Laura Munro, Jodine Muir, Emmanuel Nicolaou, Mark Norton, Nicole Michel Toum | Set Designer: Tom Bannerman | Lighting Designer: Michael Schell | Costume Designer: Aibhlinn Stokes | Sound Designer/Assistant Director: Glenn Braithwaite | Production Manager: Louise Fischer | Stage Management Team: Talia Benatar, Robyn Arthur, Texas Nixon-Kain | Lighting & Sound Operator: Ricci Costa
New Theatre, 542 King Street, Newtown
Season continues to 9 April 2022
Information and Bookings: www.newtheatre.org.au
Image: New Theatre presents The Spook – photo by Bob Seary