Switzerland | State Theatre Company South AustraliaLeft – Sandy Gore

Switzerland is a rollicking who-dun-it.

If you are unfamiliar with Patricia Highsmith’s unique blend of physiological persiflage, you are on the threshold of a mind-expanding opportunity.

Much of the authors appeal lies in her humanism both in a regard for her characters’ journey, and in that her writing is spirited and inclusive. She is a marvellous story teller, has a sure command of langue and portrays complex people exceedingly well; such as the psychotic con-artist, the Talented Mr Ripley.

Although, Switzerland, the two-hander from playwright Joanna Murray-Smith, is not an adaptation, it is a superb homage – via a kind of aggravated burglary – that appropriates the real Highsmith and adds her as a fictional character in one of her own unsettling tragedies.

Exploring the inner being of one of last century's most inscrutable and sequestered authors is no easy task. Director Nescha Jelk production achieves this difficult mission admirably.

The play pivots on a powerful self-importance. Highsmith (Sandy Gore) is living her final bad-tempered days as a recluse in Switzerland. An adolescent representative of her publisher arrives at the hermitage, hoping to persuade Highsmith to write another Ripley novel. Gore, portrays the murder mystery virtuoso as a curt, mordant and witty woman who delights in tearing the youngster to shreds. But, not all is as it seems and the youth becomes increasing calculating, until the staggering and captivating finale.

This is shock-and-awe theatre. Switzerland is an exhilarating production, led by a strong performance by Gore that flourishes through its clean narrative and taut direction.

 

State Theatre Company South Australia presents
Switzerland
by Joanna Murray-Smith

Director Nescha Jelk

Venue: Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre
Dates: 20 Oct — 5 Nov 2017
Bookings: statetheatrecompany.com.au

 

 

Related Articles

Igor Levit | 2021 Adelaide Festival Igor Levit | 2021 Adelaide Festival
I have heard many performances of this great work over the years, starting with Barenboim’s of the 1960s. But Levit’s gave me a new insight into it. “For his political commitment Igor Levit...
1:1 Concerts | 2021 Adelaide Festival 1:1 Concerts | 2021 Adelaide Festival
These concerts last just ten minutes, with the listener, the performer, and no-one else. I walk through the carefully sculpted grounds of Carrick House in the southern suburbs of Adelaide. I am...

Most read Adelaide reviews

The bewildering confusion between dream and reality begins before one takes one’s seat in the...


The cast of one is Robyn Nevin, and it was no surprise that her performance was riveting.


The revelation of this concert to me was that, yes, musicians, like audiences, have been starved...


What a Pulse the acrobats exhibited! What unanimity, what complicity in their formation and...


This long and interesting concert was structured around Schoenberg’s extraordinary setting of 21...