"A personal look into the relationship between man, woman and animal; it's fiction, fact, history and reflection."
Beatie (Sarah Hamilton) is a thylacine tracker. Alison Reid (Justine Campbell) is the daughter of Arthur Reid, the last curator at Beaumaris Zoo (where the last remaining thylacine was held captive). Together, in a bare set containing only three chairs, Hamilton and Campbell tell two intertwining stories about one of our country's lost gems.
It's as much a play about misogyny as it is about Tasmanian tigers. These women hold their own against the male chauvinism in their lives, their oppression mirrored in the men's mistreatment of the thylacines. The tale is told like a campfire story, flicking back and forth between Beatie and Alison, and delivered in poetic, lyrical lines; Hamilton charmingly colloquial with her no-bullshit manner, while Reid encapsulates the tough-yet-compassionate professional. The rhythm's pace masterfully quickens and lulls with the action.
The award-winning play has already been performed at several Fringe festivals. In its incarnation at the Malthouse, its minimalistic costume and set design may be to the show's detriment — too polished to match the ferocity and rawness of the script and characters.
Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter
While They Saw A Thylacine doesn't push any boundaries — which, admittedly, doesn't seem like its aim anyway — it feels like a personal look into the relationship between man, woman and animal; it's fiction, fact, history and reflection.