Strange Attractor

Strange Attractor
By Sue Smith. Brisbane Arts Theatre. 4-26 October, 2013.


Could Sue Smith become Australia’s Arthur Miller? This brilliant new piece of contemporary Australian writing suggests so.


She tackles a non-urban side of our culture and lifestyle, regularly in the news because it produces our principal domestic income – mining. The ramifications of her story, however, will leave you thinking long after you leave the theatre.

A Pilbara railway construction site is hit by the 2009 cyclone.  She explores the effect on five workers there, real engaging people, one woman and four men. The cyclone’s effect is shattering but once the “company man from Perth” arrives to investigate the tragedy before the judicial inquiry, we become privy to company attitudes in these situations.

This Arts’ production is exemplary. Tyro director Greg Scurr certainly earns his stripes here.

James Fitzgerald, in his finest performance so far, brings charisma and compassion to Colin, “the man”. His enigma: How far can you compromise your integrity to protect the company’s reputation? 

The workers’ relationships in the isolated, lonely site are put under the microscope: Meredith Downes (Truckie, the supply officer), Pedro Ramos (Chilli – a genuine Latino playing an Argentino canteen manager), Stewart Kirkland (Gus, responsible for health and safety of the workers), Mark Tinsley and Cameron Hurry (Taipan and Rube respectively, construction workers on the project). All create genuine rough and rugged characters.

One of this year’s finest plays!

Jay McKee

Images: Greg Bartle Photography.

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