Photo – Prudence Upton
How To Rule The World is a political satire from contemporary hotshot playwright, Nakkiah Lui.
The author stars as Vic, part of a triumvirate of non-white political back roomers in Canberra who decide that the way to rule the world, or at least their part of it, the Australian Federal Parliament, is to prop up a puppet of their own making. Fuelled by white powder to usurp white power, they audition a bunch of actors and end up casting a clueless white guy, Lewis Lewis, as their political puppet. They rename him Tommy Ryan, and affix him an electioneering slogan, “TRYAN”.
How To Rule The World brings into focus the parlous state of Australia’s present political system – established major parties in disarray with a population increasingly jaded against a lack of leadership and the revolving door of designated drivers, and the rise of the minor party flakes and independent fakes.
Joining Lui in the trio of puppeteer plotters is Anthony Taufa, a gay Tongan, and Michelle Lim Davidson as Korean mover, Zaza. Lewis Lewis is played by Hamish Michael, a naive nong who learns fairly quickly that meritocracy goes hand in hand with mediocrity in the corridors of government. It’s a wry, sly comic performance.
The Prime Minister is played with grin and grimace relish by Rhys Muldoon, an alpha male, with a literal kill your own grandmother mentality, a shirt fronting shit with budgie smuggling swagger in a bespoke suit.The versatile duo of Vanessa Downing and Gareth Davies play an assortment of characters, many in scene stealing mode with accomplished agility and aplomb.
Designer Marg Horwell’s set is hallowed halls of power, plain and perfunctory, except for flashes of audio viz which are largely extraneous and jarring, as is the distracting and muddy sound design by Paul Mac and Steve Francis.
At two and a half hours, How To Rule The World is prone to plod, but there is no denying its contemporary relevance and resonance with its focus on Sovereign Territory and the call for Treaty.
Sydney Theatre Company presents
How to Rule the World
by Nakkiah Lui
Director Paige Rattray
Venue: Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House
Dates: 11 February – 30 March 2019
Tickets: $94 – $60
Bookings: 02 9250 1777 | www.sydneytheatre.com.au