Our Country’s Good

The second play performed by Fourth Monkey was Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good. Based on a novel by Thomas Keneally called The Playmaker, it follows a bunch of soldiers and convicts in a penal colony in 18th-century Australia who decide to put on a play to pass the time. The play looks at the concept of the criminal, the role of punishment, and relationships between convicts and their guardians, as well as the power of theatre as a humanising force.

This play was possibly my favourite of the three, being powerfully performed with a clarity and pace worthy of professional productions. Limited and effective use was made of the whole space, with the audience being invited to move from one side of the room to another (and in a couple of cases, to a different room entirely) to experience different scenes of the play. This was the first play I’d seen by this playwright, and it made me want to see more of her work as well as giving me added appreciation of Fourth Monkey’s talent.

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