“DON Parties On” revisits David Williamson’s famous characters from his 1971 play, “Don’s Party”. In this Canberra premiere, Canberra Rep delivers a quality and credible production.
Cast and direction are strong, striking a balance between social drama and grotesque comedy. Peter Robinson is stylish and nuanced as psychologist and failed writer, Don.
“Don Parties On” depicts a self interested collection of early baby boomers, 41 years after their wife-swapping, politically passionate times around the 1969 election. Their journeys through “Don Parties On” are more about reconciliation with the past than action in the present. None of them are easy to like.
Set on election night 2010, “Don Parties On” draws its drama from Don and Kath’s Gen X son, Richard (Sam Hannan-Morrow) who has recently left his wife for a younger woman, Roberta (Ann Mewburn-Gray) . Richard’s 15-year-old daughter Belle (played by the engaging Isha Menon) has a sharp, logical mind and passionate discourse that contrasts with the lazy, hypocritical thinking of most of the older characters.
Less believable, is the manipulative home-wrecker Roberta. Her scripted lines and actions are over the top and the highly literal direction results in a lack of dynamic and complexity.
Ever the social and political commentator, Williamson, in “Don Parties On” reflects on common contemporary themes of middle-class white Australia with more than a hint of self-loathing.
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