Private Ginger Mick at Gallipoli

Quick off the mark to present theatre spectacles that are responsive to our times and engaging to large and increasingly appreciative audiences, TheatreiNQ has again presented first class entertainment worthy of much fanfare in the form of its current production, Private Ginger Mick at Gallipoli.

Private Ginger Mick at Gallipoli - TheatreiNQ. Photo supplied.
Private Ginger Mick at Gallipoli – TheatreiNQ. Photo supplied.

Supported specifically by the Queensland Government and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to develop a new Australian work that coincides with the 100-year anniversary of the establishment of the Australia New Zealand Army Corps, the play will be a legacy to Australian theatre and Townsville audiences fortunate to see it. TheatreiNQ are hoping for a return season next year for this Australian play.

From first hand reports of the First World War which C.J. Dennis recorded his experiences in the Australian Navy and put into poetry a century ago, the play charts in a most amusing way the hair-raising accounts of larrikin Private Ginger Mick, played by Ron Pulman, who leaves a life in Melbourne to answer the call to fight for the allies.

In his role as narrator, accompanying lead actor Brendan O’Connor gives an informative account of life on the front line, and guides the story telling, newspaper reports, and letters written home to loved ones, as they are re-animated by the play’s characters through movement, word and song.

Consisting of only five actors playing multiple roles, the show is not only high on economy and dexterity of skill but is a united front in collegiality and co-ordination. As there are no scene changes as such, each actor also takes the role of stagehand by moving items around the space as needed.

James Thomasson, Michael Gleeson and Lachlan Stevenson are fine actors in their own right, and never at any time could they be mistaken as supports to the two leads. This is a demonstration of ensemble theatre at its best, and as is typical of TheatreiNQ (pronounced Theatre Ink). The production is tight, and shows what a synthesis of a superb script, effective scenic design, and trained actors can deliver through the hands of masterful direction.

The relationship between the imaginative and changing set design of Luke Ede and the scenography of the actors within it is always in balance and due totally to the ingenuity, imagination and command that director Terri Brabon has of the theatre medium. The imagery and patterns she creates in the space using the actors themselves, as well as the ever-changing score that follows the mood of the play, are the trademark of her abilities, and are simply marvellous.

Private Ginger Mick at Gallipoli provides context to the conflicts of patriotism and loss of life in an incredibly down-to-earth and matter of fact manner, in a play that is incredibly funny, at times poignant, but all the while highly engaging and imaginative. This is the sure aim result of a director who keeps her gunpowder dry, ready for discharge at precisely the right moment. Not to be missed.


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