3 out of 5 stars
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© Rocco Redondo 2011

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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You’d have to be mad to stage Mozart’s opera ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ in an asylum, which is probably why the play within Louis Nowra’s play is the inspiration of one of the inmates.

New graduate Lewis is keen enough for work as a director to take on a gig that, 40 years later, we would term creative arts therapy. But this is Melbourne, 1970, and Lewis’s mates just call it nuts.

The choice of libretto is Roy’s, and he seems sane enough, at least until he starts insisting they sing, and in the original Italian. Or maybe he just glows with mental health in comparison to pill-popping musician Zac, Doug the arsonist, Cherry the compulsive flirt, druggy Julie, catatonic Henry and obsessional Ruth.

Lewis, meanwhile, is insanely naïve, and if his girlfriend’s collusion with his best friend isn’t enough to send him over the edge, his cast probably will.

Nowra’s good-natured if lightweight play is softly directed by King's Head artistic director Adam Spreadbury-Maher, and the cast are so lovable (and the accents of the non-Aussies so impressive) that we devote a great deal of energy to forgiving them their foibles.

Not easy, since we never find out much about them: their quirks have no context. Maybe that’s a comment on Australia, the Empire’s loony bin, where a person’s past has always been so much less important than the role they are playing right now.



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