Life Begins At » Sydney Theatre Company’s production of A Cheery Soul is on now at Sydney Opera House
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Sydney Theatre Company’s production of A Cheery Soul is on now at Sydney Opera House

Described by Time Out Sydney as “a self-assured, gorgeous production” that is “gloriously weird”, A Cheery Soul by Nobel Laureate Patrick White is a dark and devilishly funny ride through suburban Australia, exploring the meaning of morality, mortality and the need for belonging.

It’s summer in Sarsaparilla, a sleepy outer suburb of 1950s Sydney, and poor old Miss Docker is about to become homeless. Into the breach step Mr and Mrs Custance, who offer Miss Docker a room in their house, determined to do a good deed for the woman who gives her time to the community so generously…

Perhaps a little too generously. Miss Docker’s heavy-handed charity and unsolicited advice have made her one of the most infamous creatures to ever stalk the stages of Australian theatre. Ploughing through the community like a do-good wrecking ball whilst desperately searching for somewhere to belong, the anti-hero of A Cheery Soul has entertained, appalled and engaged audiences’ sympathies for over five decades.

A Cheery Soul
Photo by Daniel Boud

The magnificent Sarah Peirse (The Children, Switzerland) steps into Miss Docker’s fiercely sensible shoes in a bold new interpretation of a classic for the 21st century, playing at the Sydney Opera House until the 15th of December, directed by Sydney Theatre Company’s award-winning Artistic Director Kip Williams.

The outstanding ensemble cast also includes Anita Hegh (The Harp in the South), Tara Morice (The Harp in the South), Shari Sebbens (Black is the New White) and Bruce Spence (Endgame).

One of Australia’s most revered writers, Patrick White uses poetic language and piercing satire to peel back the scalp of the Australian mind and reveal the underlying horror beneath the calm façade of mid-century suburbia. These acidic insights are as dark and funny now as they were upon the play’s debut in 1963.

A Cheery Soul
Photo by Daniel Boud

Director Kip Williams punctuates the live action with video to tap into the subconscious mind of Miss Docker and the people she encounters, giving the audience a cinematic view into their inner lives, their dreams and their nightmares.

An eclectic and deliciously eccentric theatrical experience, Sydney Theatre Company’s production of A Cheery Soul is not something you want to miss out on.

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