One thing that remains ‘fair dinkum’ across generations of Australian-based comedy is that Ozploitation works.
We Aussies aren’t strangers to radical depictions of a laid-back yet sports-mad, uncultivated family unit, however there’s no actual offence taken because the eccentric characters (though so far out there) are relatable, let’s face it!
Iconic phrases like “tell ‘em to get stuffed!” and “look at moi ploise” aren’t born in Australia every day, but now we get to hang out with a family once again that embodies great Aussie comedy and drama with the finesse of writer Katy Warner and skilled director Sharon Davis.
'Spencer' is touring nationally from July to September, with a stop at QUT Gardens Theatre.
“It’s a story about an Aussie dysfunctional family at its core,” Jamieson Caldwell, who plays Scotty, explains. “We have a character, Scotty, who is an AFL player and he’s got a kid that he hasn’t had anything to do with, who’s now around two years old – he’s come home and the family are getting ready for the arrival of this new kid they’ve never met.
“Scotty’s got some demons he’s battling with, he’s not really sure about what he’s doing in his life, he’s made some mistakes and he’s now finally come to terms with being a father and he really wants to step up to the plate. In its depth that’s been amazing to explore.”
With a larger-than-life cast including Jane Clifton ('Prisoner'), Lyall Brooks, Roger Oakley ('Home And Away') and Fiona Harris, Jamieson describes the production as “an absolute rollercoaster of a ride; moments where you will be laughing and off your seat, and then you’ll be crying – the full works.”
Image © Pier Carthew
“Each character has their own kind of problem, things that they’re dealing with and you get this cluster of all these different things going on which creates absolute chaos – which is all part of the fun really. We all gel really well so there’s that sort of magic and spark between us all, we actually feel like a little bit of a family, so that’s always a blessing in itself – when things can sort of come naturally in that sense.”
Both playwright and writer; Katy Warner’s career is gaining real momentum since receiving two individual nominations for a Green Room award for new writing ('Spencer' and 'A Prudent Man'). Jamieson takes a moment to acknowledge her fantastic work: “The number one thing that Katy does so well is that when she writes, the writing is just so relatable, she gets into those nitty gritty idiosyncrasies of humanity.”
“And even if you’re not that typical Aussie family, it’s still relatable. It’s universal in the way that families work, you know you’re all cooped up in this house; you have your own personality but you have your personality that’s in that household as well, your own personality tries to break through but your family’s going 'no, you’re not that – you’re this'. Trying to fight against that as well creates a whole heap of drama and comedy, and everyone just goes 'I know this'! And as extreme as it is, taken to the extremities it’s not far past the actual real thing.”
The show is impressing audiences nationally, delivering a relatable, funny, deeply heartfelt theatre-going experience.