G.bod Theatre are marking the 50th anniversary of The Killing of Sister George with an updated version of the iconic Frank Marcus production at King Street Theatre.
In the play June Buckridge plays Sister George, a beloved character on a popular BBC soap opera, a nurse who ministers to the medical needs and personal problems of the local villagers. In real life Buckridge is a loud mouthed, alcoholic, slightly sadistic woman – the very antithesis of the sweet character she plays, she also happens to be a lesbian.
Despite the fact that the play was fashioned on the cusp of the swinging sixties, it didn’t make it any less radical for the time, and that’s something that Director Peter Mountford has always been fascinated by.
“It was the very first time that openly lesbian characters had been seen on stage, up until then it had been an underground scene. The good thing about the play is that there’s absolutely no apology for the fact that they are lesbians, and they’re out and they live together.”
Whilst not much of the original script has been changed, Mountford and his team were determined to bring more of a genuine quality to the creation, which he believes will still have as much of an effect on people today as it did in the sixties.
“The original was played very much as a comedy and what we’ve done is look at the darker side of it, I think they’re going to be quite shocked at how powerful a play from that time could be, it’s something that was new at the time and we’ve actually not seen anything like it since.” (AH)
Feb 24–Mar 12 (Wed–Sat 7.30pm, Sun 5pm). King Street Theatre, 644 King Street, Newtown. $28-$35. Tickets & info: kingstreettheatre.com.au
BY ANDREW HODGSON