The Haunting of Daniel Gartrell at The Old Fitzroy

This play opens with Daniel Gartrell (Mark Sheridan) sitting drinking brandy in the nude in a dark, chaotic room. There’s a knock on the door, and an enthusiastic young actor called Craig (Joshua Morton) enters. Gartrell is a famous bush poet-turned-alcoholic; an eccentric mess, and Craig has been cast to portray the young version of him in a film. Through the help of Gartrell’s depressed but patient daughter Sarah (Elisabeth Tuilekutu), it becomes clear that Gartrell’s hidden past and dark secrets are about to be revealed. It was written by award-winning playwright, Reg Cribb, whose credits include: Krakouer, The Last Cab To Darwin, The Return, and film The Last Train to Freo. Director Jacqueline Cosgrove has done a good job, and audiences can look forward to some strong, solid performances, especially by Mark Sheridan who steals the show. There are some powerful; funny; and interesting moments, but at times it felt slow and the denouement was a bit of a drag. The overall impression: this was a good play that could have been great.

Published in Sydney City News in print and online on August 9, 2011


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