Sydney in the ’80s was a party. It gave us lycra, MTV, and a raging economy that ended in the recession ‘we had to have’. It was the ‘greed is good’ decade, with rampant consumerism, materialism and where success was measured in real estate – preferably with a harbour view. Cut to today and things change – there is much less lycra – and David Williamson’s Emerald City is as relevant as ever.
“Even though it was written 30 years ago, we all believe it’s absolutely relevant to today because we are having the exact same conversations,” says Kelly Paterniti (Home and Away, Packed to the Rafters) who plays Helen, the free-spirited girlfriend of a hack writer. “Unlike the other characters she just wants to go where the fun is and that’s why she is so alluring. She just doesn’t care, so she lacks the moralistic conundrums that they have,” says Paterniti.
Our most performed playwright, Williamson’s central characters are decent people, wrestling with their worst selves. In his sharply satirical sights are the worst excesses of materialism and compromise that the harbour city can serve up. Dual Helpman winner Mitchell Butel, Lucy Bell (All Saints, Crownies) and the redoubtable Marcus Graham make a stellar cast. In a splash back to the decade, set design is by iconic ’80s pop artist Ken Done, whose work was so evocative of the time. (GW)
Oct 24–Dec 6, SBW Stables, 10 Nimrod St, Kings Cross, $32-49, griffintheatre.com.au