The Incorruptible | The Drill Hall CompanyPhoto – John McCormick

Louis Nowra is not only a visionary, he is the man of our times! Why, you may ask, have I come to this conclusion? Because he has ‘written the script’ so many years ago, that is unfolding, politically, as I type. The Incorruptible was penned in 1995 and what has changed? Did Mr Nowra write a blueprint for all politicians to view as their bible? That they should follow this to the letter? Oh, my god (and God is a strong contender in this play, as is every swear word I’ve ever loved to hate) – did he work with me, way back then, in the Queensland Premier’s Department?

Bombastic, misogynistic males enter the realm of live theatre (they are, after all, actors, I keep reminding myself) but I am hard-pressed not to feel I am back at work, at one of the ‘meetings’. Insulting and full of themselves, they work the theatre until we, the audience, are totally ensconced. So many one-liners; so many classic insults, and if I thought I couldn’t be shocked by swearing, well, think again. Totally necessary, though, as this is a hard-hitting and potent look at political power itself, and what is power without irreverence, self-serving, self-indulgent, manipulative, cruel, insidious, god-bothering, with a healthy hate for all females, in all stages of being? 

Ed Gabelich (Gabo), politician with “Ding-dong balls, not Chihuahua balls” (brilliantly executed by John Rado) not only looks EXACTLY like one of my ex-bosses, he carries the same arrogance throughout the entire play. Hard-hitting with never a moment to draw breath (actors and audience alike) this play takes us all on a ride within the current political arena; local, state, federal and world-wide! “Prescient for these times” with so many truths outed, it is totally frightening. 

No stone is left unturned and the brilliant actors (every one of them) carry us through some scary moments of reality. Ion Stafford, Premier of Qld (Daryl White, you are amazing) shows us the way and the light; his character metamorphosises throughout the play and we love him and hate him and love him and hate him all over again: as he evolves, so does the audience. Powerful look at how evil can take a hold, without any of us even knowing. Megalomaniacs abound, insults following injury and all that that entails. This play is so contemporary it physically hurts. A wake-up call? One would hope – however, as this was written twenty-two years ago and EVIL still has a grapple-hold on politics, it appears we are all doomed to be hoodwinked over and over again by “Politics, full of bullies and conmen”, living off their allowances and their greed for power. The selling off of Australia (particularly rife in Queensland) and all the ‘argy-bargy’ for the “dark night of the soul”. The Premier is growing and the momentum is showing. 

Louise Porter, press secretary (Kasdevi Curtis, take a HUGE bow) evolves with Ion Stafford, relinquishing, ever so subliminally, her very soul. In a world full of men, Louise is the king-maker, even if putrid Gabo quips, “The king-maker is always the best man”. Political lives are unravelled; scenarios so similar to political environment (don’t talk about the environment – it was ignored way back then, too) unfold and, well, this is a ‘must-see’ play if ever there was one. The argument scene between Gabo and Ion is spectacular – my arm hair was upright the entire show – now that’s a lot of arm hair! Louise and her moment of truth spectacularly awesome, too. All the actors were so convincing, I had to pinch myself and repeat, “this is just a play”. But this is not just a play (Gregory Aitken, director, also plays a pivotal role as Simon Porter, judge-won-over) – it is a lesson in life.

Speaking of lessons, The Incorruptible should be prescribed reading on the high school curriculum as NECESSARY study, so that maybe, one day, this self-serving arena of political corruption can be arrested (literally, ha ha, got literally in!) and we can find a new way of living that serves the people, not the pollies. Louis Nowra knew it back then; I worked at the coal-face and I knew it back then, too – so what’s changed? We may well ask, “how many politicians does it take to change a light-bulb moment?” The answer, sadly, is “way too many”. Sack the lot of them! Vote One, Louis Nowra! 

The Drill Hall Theatre Company presents a Mongrel Arts Project
The Incorruptible
by Louis Nowra

Director Gregory Aitken

Venue: Drill Hall Theatre Mullumbimby NSW
Dates: 26 January – 5 February, 2017
Tickets: $25 – $22