Skip to main content

> Review

The Secret River - Sydney Festival -

The Secret River
Jan 22nd 2013 | Dave Drayton
Adapted from Kate Grenville's novel by Andrew Bovell, The Secret River examines the early stages of contact between British convicts and settlers and indigenous Australians around the Hawkesbury River. It is our history, and a tragedy, and it plays out at the base of an enormous ghostly gum that reaches up beyond our sight.

Unlike Grenville's novel, which focuses on the Thornhill family, particularly the patriarch William (Nathaniel Dean) in which the aboriginal people are voiceless, this production gives voice to the Darug people on stage. They speak in their native tongue, sans-subtitles, and we are placed in the curiously insightful position of being allowed to decipher meaning, or attempt to do so.

The hybridity in perspectives and storytelling techniques remains diplomatic (but far from tokenistic) as classic British songs and dangerous pub-spun yarns work alongside corroboree and tales told with lines drawn by charcoal-tipped sticks.

We know how this story ends, like so many others, but Neil Armfield's directorial vision ensures we get there with a new understanding of its lasting impact and importance. In the end, the convict 'come good' Thornhill stands in an ill-fitting sports jacket, the shoulders hanging off his own; as big as the lies he's telling himself.

Sydney Theatre: Walsh Bay, Sydney Festival, to Saturday 9 February

Comments

Related Articles



Poster IT

Connect with The Music

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter

Galleries

<span>Shonen Knife</span><br />Jive

Shonen Knife
Jive

<span>The Growlers</span><br />Corner Hotel

The Growlers
Corner Hotel

<span>Far From Folsom</span><br />Parramatta Gaol

Far From Folsom
Parramatta Gaol

<span>Paul Kelly</span><br />Fremantle Arts Centre

Paul Kelly
Fremantle Arts Centre

<span>Passenger</span><br />Palais Theatre

Passenger
Palais Theatre

<span>Joey Bada$$</span><br />The Hi-Fi

Joey Bada$$
The Hi-Fi

<span>The Kooks</span><br />Belvoir Amphitheatre

The Kooks
Belvoir Amphitheatre

<span>Client Liaison</span><br />Famous Spiegeltent

Client Liaison
Famous Spiegeltent

<span>Nelly</span><br />HBF Arena

Nelly
HBF Arena

this week's magazine

Digital Version
A Festival Called PANAMA Airlie Beach Music Festival Australasian Worldwide Music Expo Beyond The Valley Big Sky Blues & Roots Festival BIGSOUND Bleach Festival Blue Mountains Music Festival Blues At Bridgetown Bluesfest Breakfest Brisbane Festival Brunswick Music Festival Bruthen Blues & Arts Festival Caloundra Music Festival Campfire Festival CMC Rocks The Hunter CoLAB Deni Ute Muster Dungog Festival Earth Frequency Festival El Grande Festival Fairbridge Folk Festival Falls Festival Falls Festival Falls Festival Farmer & The Owl Festival Of The Sun Follow The Sun Festival Future Music Festival Future Music Festival Future Music Festival Future Music Festival Future Music Festival Golden Plains Gorgeous Festival Great Southern Blues Festival Groovin The Moo Groovin The Moo Groovin The Moo Groovin The Moo Groovin The Moo Groovin The Moo Gympie Music Muster HyperFest JamGrass Music Festival Jungle Love Music & Arts Festival Just For Laughs Kyneton Music Festival Let Them Eat Cake Listen Out Listen Out Listen Out Listen Out Lost Paradise Melbourne Music Week Meredith Music Festival Mitchell Creek Rock 'n' Blues MOFO Mountain Sounds Mullum Music Festival Nannup Music Festival National Folk Festival Newtown Festival Noosa Jazz Festival NYE On The Hill Origin NYE Originals Music Festival Out On The Weekend Outlet Music Festival OutsideIn Paradise Music Festival Party In The Paddock Perth Festival Poison City Weekender Port Fairy Folk Festival Queenscliff Music Festival Rainbow Serpent Festival Riverboats Music Festival Rottofest Saltwater Freshwater Festival Secret Garden Festival Soulfest Soulfest Soulfest Soundwave Soundwave Soundwave Soundwave Southbound Splendour In The Grass St Jerome's Laneway Festival St Jerome's Laneway Festival St Jerome's Laneway Festival St Jerome's Laneway Festival St Jerome's Laneway Festival Stereosonic Stereosonic Stereosonic Stereosonic Stereosonic Strawberry Fields Subsonic Sugar Mountain Festival Sydney Country Music Festival Sydney Festival Sydney Fringe Festival Tamworth Country Music Festival The Blurst Of Times Festival The Hills Are Alive The WA Circus Festival Toowoomba Carnival Of Flowers UNIFY: A Heavy Music Gathering Urban Country Music Festival Valley Fiesta Vanfest WAM Festival West Coast Blues & Roots Festival WOMAdelaide Wonderland Woodford Folk Festival Yours And Owls

The Music Store

Australasian Music Industry Directory
The ultimate print sourcebook for all the contacts…
Jun 18th 2014
Arts Advertising Packages
The Music Arts Packages provide promotion in The Music…
Jun 18th 2014
Indie Band Advertising Packages
The Music Indie Band Packages provide promotion in…
Jun 18th 2014
Galleon Krueger for Sale
Galleon Krueger Bass Amplifier. 1001RB As new, current…
Jul 12th 2014
Jazz guitarists wanted for weekend jams.
We are a bass and drums unit rehearsing in St Peters…
Jul 12th 2014
Premier Sydney Punk/Rock Band seeks Drummer
One of Sydneys Premier Punk Rock Bands seeks energetic…
Jun 18th 2014

Listen