Left - Michael and Brant Eustice
David Williamson’s Influence is a sharp and incisive play slicing through the diatribe of one shock-jock to reveal layers of hypocrisy, stupidity and blind prejudice.
Director Brant Eustice has delivered a fresh and fast-paced rendition, making the most of Williamson’s script.
Highly relevant when it was first produced five years ago, this play still sends a strong message of anti-racism and the dangers of self-righteousness in any section of society.
Uniquely Australian and quintessentially Williamson, Influence follows the life of shock-jock Ziggy Blasko whose on-air rantings are equally as appalling and ugly as his off-air personal life.
Eustice has emphasized the shallow nature of Williamson’s main characters, thus highlighting the ridicule and ironic humour in the script.
Michael Eustice delivers a strong performance as the objectionable Alan Jones’ caricature. Bombastic and opinionated Eustice portrays a Ziggy who is capable of appalling fundamentalism and superiority, lambasting minorities with complete disregard for human dignity and soul. Nothing in his professional or personal life breaks the steely nature of his own narcissism.
Eustice's Ziggy may be the central character, but it is Emily Branford who steals the show as his breathtakingly self-obsessed and spoilt wife Carmela. Branford is exceptional, skillfully eliciting both humour and horror as she depicts Carmela’s complete lack of self-awareness or self-reflection.
Kate Vanderhorst is also strong as the spoilt and lost teenager Vivienne, a victim of this particularly materialistic echelon of Australian society.
Right wing meets left wing as Cate Rogers adroitly plays the well-meaning sister Connie, who tries to imbue some morals into this immoral household.
Privileged meets underprivileged as Alicia Case adeptly puts the case for the immigrants as the housekeeper Zehra and Tony Sampson portrays the lot of a single father as the driver Tony.
Eustice’s Influence is witty and conveys all of the meaning rich within Williamson’s script. The characters are somewhat unbelievable, unreachable and yet this is often the case in Williamson's plays. His message speaks louder than his personalities.
Eustice also faces the off-stage challenge of a central character dropping out due to ill health. Last minute he skillfully takes up the role of Ziggy’s father Marko Blasko. Script in hand he delivers a profound and realistic performance. Despite this unavoidable drawback this play is well worth spreading its influence to as many audience members as possible.
University of Adelaide Theatre Guild presents
by David Williamson
Directed by Brant Eustice
Venue: Little Theatre
Dates: Sat 8 May 2010, 7.30pm, Tue-Sat 11-15 & 18-22 May 2010, 7.30pm
Duration: approx 2 hours
Tickets: $25 Full, $20 Concession (Students/Pensioners/Unemployed/MEAA); Groups of 10+ at concession price each
Bookings: 8303 5999 | www.adelaide.edu.au/theatreguild