Written by Ingle Knight
Directed by Chris Bendall
Designed by Fiona Bruce
Featuring Steve Turner, Geoff Kelso, Ben D’Addario, Igor Sas, Christie Sistrunk and James Hagen
Until August 5
I hope the teaching of Australian history has improved since my schooldays. Back then, after laborious lists of the early explorers and governors and hoary tales of squatters, shearers and swaggies (all the better for making sense of Waltzing Matilda, I suppose), the narrative all but collapsed.
Apart from the disgraceful marginalisation of Aboriginal history and the lives of women, perhaps the greatest tragedy was the paucity of our Twentieth Century political history. The mighty battles over free trade, the franchise and industrial relations, conscription, the banks and the communist party were a passing blur, and the great figures who fought them, Deakin, Barton, Fisher and Hughes, Theodore and Lang, Lyons, Chifley, Evatt and even the never-ending Menzies were derelict sketches without personality or insight.
With so little to spark our imagination, it’s hardly surprising that political biographies other than those of current or recent figures are so rare in print, on film or on stage. All the more reason to welcome Ingle Knight’s examination of the pivotal years in the career of perhaps our greatest, certainly our most intriguing, leader, John Curtin.