Left - Gibson Nolte, Kate Worsley and Drew Fairley. Photo - Heidrun Lohr
There are loads of adjectives that attach themselves to The Stallion of Death - rollicking, whip-cracking, bush legend are some that immediately spring to mind.
Writer/director/actor Drew Fairley displays an innate comic gift in this camp period farce and has brought together a terrific cast. Buck (a sadly beardless Gibson Nolte) is perfect as the gormless drifter who spins a wild yarn about Geoffrey, the stallion of death. Jemima (Kate Wosley) is the squatters daughter who sees its potential, and feeds it to the perpetually drunk bush poets (Fairley and Lynch) who amplify the bush bullshit to the status of legend. Diane Smith plays the widow and town matriarch who fans the flames of the towns desire for fame.
It’s a neat idea and has an authenticity about it, which perhaps stems from its conception - Fairley wrote it to stave off boredom and insanity whilst touring another show around regional NSW. The Friday night audience loved this show and it would go well in a comedy venue, festival or theatre restaurant setting. The actors relished the script and, though tightly reigned in in this production, could easily embellish and play around more with this piece. The content is engaging, skillful and pacy, though it suffers somewhat from superficiality and, hence, is a little unsatisfying at the end.
Though an intense experience at the time, like eating fairy floss, it turned out to be less than substantial fare. More acute political observations would have elevated it to a different class of writing. The Stallion of Death suffered from being too cute – a little more savagery and a tad more gravitas would have anchored it in historical revisionism - and that would have really been something quite special.
Darlinghurst Theatre Company and Drew Fairley present
The Stallion of Death
by Drew Fairley
Venue: Darlinghurst Theatre | 19 Greenknowe Avenue, Potts Point NSW
Dates: Wednesday 24 September to Saturday 18 October
Times: Tuesday – Saturday 8pm, Sunday 5pm
Tickets: Adult $35, Concession $30
Bookings: www.darlinghursttheatre.com | 02 8356 9987