Brighton Theatre Company

Brighton theatre compant

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Photos captured by Dave Swann

Greece, a dream destination for many. The island of Hydra in The 1950’s and 60’s saw Australian writers George Johnston (Andrew Wild) and Charmian Clift (Naomi Crossley) take residence on the idyllic island of turquoise blue waters and idyllic landscapes. it was a wild time of booze, song, and lovemaking. Hydra became a hangout for artists, writers, and musicians. A refuge for the eccentric types, escaping from the world. In the decade George and Charmian spent on the island, They would produce some of their greatest literary works.

Decorated playwright Sue Smith tells the story of the pair, from the moment they met in a Sydney bar, Charmian an aspiring write, and George, a successful war correspondent. Their relationship was anything but conventional, aside from making the move across the globe, the pair had their fair share of hiccups throughout their time. Affairs, illness and money, or lack thereof all shaped their dramatic story, told brilliantly by Smith, Creating a tense, funny, and authentic play for all to enjoy.

Michelle Swann’s direction was nothing short of exceptional, from the moment the actor’s step onto stage to the very last scene, you can’t help but feel the story, understanding the complexity of the characters and the very issues they faced, but also the joy these people felt, sometimes all in one.

Naomi Crossley’s performance as Charmian Clift was outstanding, she embodies the role with great success and should be applauded for the emotion, grit, and humour she captures alongside Andrew Wild’s remarkable portrayal of George Johnston. Together, the romance of the pair was believable and truly let the audience into that complicated love which seemed like a rollercoaster, but through it all, was underlying and true. Intimacy coach Elise D’Amico is to also be praised for allowing those raw intimate moments to feel authentic throughout the play.

Various characters Vic (David bloom), Ursula (Kelly Louise Williams) and Martin Johnston (Daniel Trenkovski) were also played with conviction, with the actors all contributing to making this play something special for the audience. Gilbert Gauci as the flirtatious Frenchman Jean-Claude and others was hilarious, perfectly executing the role, leaving the crowd in stitches with his spot-on accent and impeccable delivery.

Walking into the theatre, the audience was transported to Hydra, with a stunning set, designed by Hellen Ellis and Michelle swan. Additionally, other production design elements were equally as impressive with faultless lighting by Alan Crispin.

The sound design by Michelle Swann successfully captured all relevant moods, and though I enjoyed the use of projection, perhaps the image quality let down and took away from the authenticity of certain scenes.

Hydra is an incredible true story, and Brighton Theatre Company have done an exceptional job at telling it. It is playing until the 1st of June, and this is one you wouldn’t want to miss.

Fergus Rann

Fergus Rann

Fergus Rann (He/Him) is a 19 year old Musical Theatre Performer, based in Melbourne. He believes that there are shows and stories for everyone, whether they know it yet, or not. And the magic of Theatre is the journey of finding such stories.
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