Tom Wright’s chilling adaptation of Joan Lindsay’s haunting novel, brilliantly directed by Matthew Lutton, opened in January at the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh after premiering in Australia.
Award-winning director and Malthouse artistic and co executive director, Lutton had previously held the role of Associate Director with Black Swan State Theatre Company. Performances in Edinburgh sold out as audiences and critics reacted enthusiastically to a mythical story deeply rooted in the Australian landscape, which explores the coming to terms with an ancient land and the guilt of a colonial past.
The play is an ensemble piece, as the five young and hugely talented actresses from Melbourne cover the full cast of characters. According to the Scotsman review, ‘An explosion of theatrical power as fierce as it is contemplative, and so original that no-one who sees it is likely to forget it.’
Lutton’s disturbing and unsettling production was also praised for its technical aspects. J David Franzke's sound design and Ash Gibson Greig's electronic underscore build an unbearable tension that is strained still further by Zoe Atkinson's minimal, claustrophobic set and Paul Jackson’s masterly lighting.
Picnic at Hanging Rock was co-produced by renowned theatre makers Black Swan State Theatre Company (Perth) Malthouse Theatre (Melbourne). Cast includes Harriet Gordon-Anderson, Arielle Gray, Amber McMahon, Elizabeth Nabben and Nikki Shiels.
What the reviewers said:
‘An experience designed to beguile.’ — Herald Scotland
‘It’s a show with a volcanic power.’ — The Guardian
‘Mythic in its scope and magical in its appearance.’ — The Stage
‘Unsettles on stage as it did on film.’ — The Telegraph
‘Harnessing their incredible versatility and equally commanding stage presence, they created a compelling ninety minute performance.’ Mumble Theatre
'Matthew Lutton’s production is a work of jagged, disturbing innovation' —The Telegraph
'A pressure-cooker evening in the theatre which challenges, unsettles and disturbs.' —What's on Stage
'As compelling, visceral and insistent as that wasp in your otherwise perfect picnic jam pot. Unmissable.' —The Edinburgh Reporter