Dinkum Assorted | New TheatrePhoto – Bob Seary

Dinkum Assorted is a wonderful piece of theatre performed at New Theatre in Newtown.

From the moment the cast take the stage you are drawn into their world of the Dinkum Biscuit Factory, the small business in a remote town in North Queensland during World War II. It is a world where fifteen strong and brave women deal with office politics and the endless pursuits of love and life against the backdrop of the heavy burden and impact of a war.

The town has lost so many fathers, sons and husbands that the women fear whenever the priest approaches. Will he again be delivering bad news? They cannot dwell on the losses of loved ones as not only have 2000 American airmen been stationed near Warrabadanga, but the biscuit factory where generations have worked is now threatened by the internal politics and war.

Playwright Linda Aronson is a beautiful storyteller. She weaves the stories of individual women and their dreams of love and joy into a bigger tale of women during war time and a town about to change forever. Although the stories of the women are foremost in this play there are unspoken stories of men who are far from home fighting in a horrible war. Men who will not see their children grow up, men looking for love, men trying to find their way in this war time world. It is these untold stories that balance the play and make it about humanity allowing both men and women to enjoy it.

The actors in the New Theatre performance of Dinkum Assorted are great. The 15 women take on the roles wholeheartedly and it is their performances that take you to the factory or the quarry and keep you there until the lights come up. Amand Laing as Vi and Hannah Raven as Rosie are a joy to watch. The youngest of the characters, their dreams are of a bigger and better lives. Vi is a natural musician and wants to sing and dance her way out of the town. She’d be happy even if it was just to Tamworth. Rosie is a little more reluctant, but her big heart sees her helping her friend when she can. The two girls bring a youthful energy to the stage and remind us that even if there is a war on young people still want to dream big. Bodelle De Ronde plays Millie, and captures both the hope that lies within Millie as she tries to make the most of her life and the desperate nature of a woman so far from home with a husband missing in action. De Ronde makes you want to know what happened to Millie, did she find happiness? Did she ever make it home? Sonya Kerr, Debra Bryan and Colleen Cook were all fantastic. They not only portrayed their characters well but built strong relationships with each other and with the rest of the cast.

Dinkum Assorted has so much energy. Energy that comes from the characters. The desperate energy of survival, the joyful energy of youth, the determined energy of women who are fighting together to maintain a life that is worth living. There is an energy that comes from movement. The rolling up of sleeves to start a day’s work, the removing of sacred stockings that are so hard to come by, the dancing that starts as a smoke screen but becomes an all out musical performance. All this energy makes the play Dinkum Assorted not only a joy to watch but an informative perspective of a lives that were lived in this country not that long ago.

New Theatre presents
book, lyrics & music Linda Aronson

Director Sahn Millington

Venue: New Theatre | 542 King Street Newtown
Dates: 17 November – 19 December 2015
Tickets: $17 – $32
Bookings: newtheatre.org.au

Most read Sydney reviews

Like champagne that’s lost its chill, life can lose its thrill.

Frilly, flimsy and flippant, focusing on frivolity,  the serious business of office politics,...

Suspense and surprise go south in North by Northwest, substituted with cheesy cheer east of Edam.

Naive theatre meets high tech in The Umbilical Brothers’ production, The Distraction.

The lights go down. The cicadas scream. The lights come up and we wait for the play to begin....