Rupert

David Williamson’s recent play is not so much a rags to riches story as a rich to filthy rich story, a tale of tyke to tycoon if you will.

James Cromwell plays the older, reflective Rupert Murdoch who narrates his past while the ensemble cast literally dances around him. The exuberant Guy Edmonds portrays the younger Murdoch’s journey from disillusioned student at Oxford who is out to prove his worth to his mother, to the power-hungry mogul that we know today.

Director Lee Lewis adeptly uses the stage to tell an upbeat cabaret full of meta-theatrical and self-referential gags with fun costumes and set changes. The acting is strong, the most delightful are performances by Jane Turner, Glenn Hazeldine and Bert LaBonte who play a horde of colourful characters that leaves the audience in stitches.

But ultimately the show’s downfall is that it raises more questions than it answers. We are told that even though Murdoch has made enough money to last him five lifetimes he can’t stop working. We see a man who is at the office from 5am to midnight, not afraid to get his hands dirty and take on the most basic editorial roles. We already know that Murdoch will stop at nothing to get what he wants. But what does he want? And why does he want it?

Whether you love or hate him, or love to hate him, Murdoch’s power and ambition is fascinating. However, surely what is even more fascinating is the motivation behind his ambition. But that is a story for another time. (ES)

Published in City Hub online and in print on Dec 1, 2014

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