Thomas Murray and the Upside Down River

Critical Stages Thomas Murray and the Upside Down RiverA thrilling Australian drama from the multi-award winning writer of Last Cab to Darwin, Critical Stages presents Reg Cribb’s Thomas Murray and the Upside Down River as part of a regional tour through New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Invoking the expansive, isolating beauty of rural Australia, Thomas Murray & The Upside Down River is about a man ravaged by drought, family secrets and love. The Murray family have been farming the land along the Darling River for five generations. For Tom Murray, it’s all he’s ever known.

When his childhood friends Lucy and Billy reappear, deep friendships are tested, and secrets, long buried, are finally awakened – and Tom must make the long journey down-stream to reconcile for past wrongs and to fight for his wife.

Thomas Murray and the Upside Down River is about the destruction of our environment, played in parallel with a story of indigenous relations past and present. It involves deep friendships and profound betrayals. The love triangle set on a drought-stricken Darling River takes a personal and existential look at the ongoing emotional costs of climate change and a long drought about memories, dreams and desires.

“As much as this is a play about dealing with one man’s past it is also very much about our country’s present and about our relationship with the land,” says Director Chris Bendall. “It is both a memory play and an odyssey, traversing time and unearthing secrets buried long ago. Bringing its epic scale to the stage has been a hugely exciting challenge for us all.”

“Chris Bendall’s direction is imaginative, fluent in its handling of the play’s temporal shifts and notably physical.” – Sydney Morning Herald

Director: Chris Bendall  Featuring: Valerie Bader, Grant Cartwright, Nicholas Papademetriou, Francesca Savige, Bjorn Stewart  Set & Costume Designer: Dann Barber  Composer and Sound Designer: Kingsley Reeve  Lighting Designer: Alexander Berlage  Original Producers: Pippa Bailey and Chris Bendall

Thomas Murray and the Upside Down River plays at the Glen Street Theatre until 25 February, before heading to Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre (28 February), Capitol Theatre – Tamworth (3 March), Cessnock Performing Arts Centre  (6 March), Orange Civic Theatre (8 March), Frankston Arts Centre (10 March), Shirley Burke Theatre – Parkdale (13 March) Araluen Arts Centre – Alice Springs (17 March), Watershed Margaret River (24 March), Mandurah Performing Arts Centre (28-29 March), Albany Entertainment Centre (31 March), and Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts and Culture Centre – Katherine (7 April).

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Image: Thomas Murray & The Upside Down River – courtesy of Critical Stages