Friday, directed by Julie Baz, takes us inside a fictitious parliament to examine the desire for power and the manipulated truths and personal motivations that often corrupt the democratic system. Minister for Transport Bill Twomey (Peter Hayes) is brazen and bull-headed. He’s trying to pass a bill providing free public transport for his constituents. Trouble is, he’s neglected to get the bill approved by the Premier (Gertraud Ingeborg) before announcing it to the media. Combined with damning personal allegations from the opposition leader (David Ritchie), the public, the press and the Premier are soon calling for the Minister’s resignation. But there’s much more to it, you see.
Ghosts have been spotted in the halls, a journalist is looking for a juicy political story and public service employees muse on their mutual job dissatisfaction. Not only that – members of the public search for illusive meaning in the political system, impending workplace restructures and privatisation threatens the status quo, a parliamentary wine supplier contemplates his political aspirations and the parliamentary librarian moonlights as an author. Yes, I thought so too. There’s a lot going on in this work.
Like the political players it portrays, this witty satire doesn’t lack ambition. With a cast of 13 actors all playing multiple roles, there are moments of striking poignancy. Quick wit reminiscent of an Oscar Wilde comedy is apparent: “Luckily I don’t have one of those marriages where I need to be there.” Break the script down and there are some real gems. However the cavalcade of characters and events tends to water down the overall greatness of the work. In true political style, the attempt to address everything and cater to everyone leaves the majority unsatisfied. A narrower focus would allow for a more striking examination of the important issues.
BY LEE HUTCHISON