When do-gooders go bad…
Patrick White, the only Australian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, is a towering figure in our culture. Of his plays, A Cheery Soul was White’s own favourite. It’s a fascinating work, mixing a satirical view of Australian society with an expressionistic form, poetic language and characters that are as hilarious and grotesque as they are uncannily familiar.
Returning to his imagined every-suburb of Sarsaparilla, Patrick White introduces us to one of his most memorable characters, Miss Docker, who embodies what the writer termed “the destructive power of good.”
The prototypical Aussie busy-body, Miss Docker’s story leads her in a series of increasingly surreal acts from the home of the Custances, to the local nursing home, the church, and finally to the isolated grounds of the crematorium. White’s acidic insights into the nation’s soul are as funny and telling now as they were upon the play’s debut in 1963.
A Cheery Soul has a storied past at Sydney Theatre Company, with acclaimed productions in 1979 (directed by Jim Sharman) and 2001 (directed by Neil Armfield), both starring Robyn Nevin in a role she made famous. In 2018, STC’s Artistic Director Kip Williams takes the helm, placing the magnificent Sarah Peirse (Switzerland) into Miss Docker’s fiercely sensible shoes in a bold, new production for the 21st century.
Presented by Sydney Theatre Company.