Theatre, Drama
A close up of Lucy Bell in Honour, against a pink backdrop
Photograph: Supplied/Ensemble Theatre

Time Out says

This biting observation on a marriage falling apart is the playwright's most admired work

One of Australia’s most revered playwrights, Joanna Murray-Smith has been wowing audiences all over the world since 1987. Honour, first staged in her hometown of Melbourne in 1995, is arguably her most famous work. It was certainly given a huge nudge along the way when it received a public reading by Meryl Streep, no less, and went on to storm Broadway. Honour has been produced many times over since.

Ensemble Theatre will breathe new life into the work about a middle-aged man who walks out on his wife and daughter for a younger woman. Lucy Bell (The Cherry Orchard) plays Honor, who has been married to George (Huw Higginson, Top End Wedding) for over 30 years when he strays. What follows is a bitingly sharp take on that depressingly textbook behaviour, with esteemed director Kate Champion taking the reins, deploying a brilliant cast that also includes Ayeesha Ash (Life of Galileo), and Poppy Lynch (Osama The Hero).

Murray-Smith subtly cracks open the complexities of relationships, laying bare our capacity to hurt the ones we love. Champion says: “Honour is a contemporary Australian classic which still resonates today. It questions the ability of long-term love to endure and lays bare the judgement and moral frailty on both sides when it doesn’t. Raising familiar questions around sacrifice and equality within a partnership, it nonetheless confounds easy assumptions, a quality I’m deeply drawn to as vital element of any truly compelling drama.”

Opening at the Ensemble on April 23 and running until June 5, tickets start from $67. And if it’s good enough for Meryl, it’s good enough for us all.

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