The sharper the wits, the higher the stakes
Somewhere in the Swiss alps, a grande dame of best-selling crime literature lives with an impressive collection of books, and a somewhat sinister collection of guns and knives. She finds solace in her seclusion, her cats and cigarettes. But when a mysterious international visitor barges in to her home unannounced, will her love of fictional murders become a dangerous reality?
is an original thriller inspired by renowned master crime novelist Patricia Highsmith by Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith (
Highsmith’s books are the source of many cinematic adaptations -
The Two Faces of January
The Talented Mr Ripley
Strangers on a Train -
the tables are turned and it is Patricia Highsmith herself who is the central character.
Sydney Theatre Company Resident Director Sarah Goodes guides a superbly talented cast, Sarah Peirse and Eamon Farren, in a production that will have you on the edge of your seat.
True to its genre,
kicks off with a knock at the door and spirals into a calculated contest of wits and words. In a Highsmith world, villains enjoy happy endings as often as their victims… who will make it out of
The best-selling author behind the character
Patricia Highsmith was born in Texas in 1921, the only child of her feuding artist parents. She grew up to have a macabre sense of humour, a fascination with psychological disorders and plethora of controversial opinions. Her friends described her as stingy, neurotic and cantankerous.
Her first novel, Strangers on a Train, was turned into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock. Her second, The Price of Salt, was a lesbian romance that defied 1950s conventions and sold almost a million copies.
Highsmith created some of the greatest suspense novels in modern literature, writing dozens of works that would become notorious for their startling violence and unstable, morally ambiguous characters. She became best known for the Ripley series and its eponymous criminal hero; a seductive, amoral libertine who gets away with murder.
Patricia Highsmith died in Switzerland in 1995. She was alone.
Daily Review - 4.5 star review
“Murray-Smith’s work has never been darker or more compelling and Sydney Theatre Company’s world premiere production, directed by Sarah Goodes, explores Highsmith’s shadows with sophistication and two outstanding performances.”
“Switzerland seems certain to go international, and has the makings of an excellent, claustrophobic film. Highsmith is the type of role the Streeps and Benings of the world win awards for, and it’s hard to imagine they won’t come knocking.”
“It’s a truly great new play”
Sydney Morning Herald - 4 star review
“This dark, generously entertaining new play by Joanna Murray-Smith gets the sleek premiere it deserves. Everything about it shouts quality. Something about it whispers "Broadway potential".
“Presented as a straight-through and engrossing 100 minutes, Sarah Goodes' production is handsome (moodily lit and scored by Nick Schlieper and Steve Francis, respectively) and draws you into Highsmith's world completely.”
The performances are excellent. In mannish get-up, Peirse is entirely convincing as Highsmith, prickly as a cactus yet possessed of warm intelligence and a willingness to engage with those she deems worthy. Farren, in the performance of his career to date, is a brilliant foil.”
“The twists in this multi-layered meta-thriller are fascinating”