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Review: Hydra


Review: Hydra

Lucy Brewer

George Johnston and Charmaine Clift - arguably Australia’s most famous literary couple. State Theatre’s Hydra, written beautifully by Sue Smith, follows the two as they meet, begin a scandalous affair, and set off on a global adventure in pursuit of their art, leaving behind post World War ll Australia.

Narrated by the couple’s eldest son Martin (Nathan O’Keefe), George (Bryan Probets) and Charmaine (Anna McGahan) find themselves on the Greek island of Hydra, where they create a bohemian ex-pat community. For a few years they live in boozy, loved-up bliss, until the cracks begin to form and the two realise living the toll of living in so called “paradise”.

The talented ensemble handle Smith’s words with grace and gusto, fully transporting the spellbound audience to the idealistic community of Hydra, and later, to life back in Australia. Directed thoughtfully by Sam Strong, the production strengthens as it continues, boasting a powerful final few scenes. Anna McGahan gives a memorable performance as the vibrant, headstrong Charmaine, and Nathan O’Keefe does an admirable job as Martin, acting as a guide as the audience is pulled further into the colourful lives of his parents. Vilma Mattila’s exquisite design and Quentin Grant’s haunting composition should also be applauded. 

Hydra is a delicate, heart-wrenching tale of the cost of pursuing a dream, and what it means to be, and to love, an artist. 

Presented by State Theatre Company and Queensland Theatre in association with Adelaide Festival Centre.

Book tickets here.