Eric Gardiner, writer and sound designer, targets ex-Queensland Premier Campbell Newman’s one-term government in this satire of state politics. The early scenes of Connor Gallacher as Newman – winking and glad-handing the audience, while serving dinner to his far-too-compliant family, are suitably biting. But as the play progresses, it was harder to grasp what the show was trying to achieve. The criticisms of Newman’s far right ideology are fair, but comparisons to Roman Emporers all seem a bit too pat.
There were some striking images, including Newman’s daughters in the gladiatorial ring and Gallacher hunched over the family dinner table telling us that freedom comes with a price. And some of the dialogue was laugh-out-loud funny.
But in the end, with some humorous lines and some memorable set pieces supporting a very straight-forward play, Bounty feels too much like bread and circuses to me.