HIGH, LOW HIGHSMITH

Mandurah Coastal Times - - LOOKLOCALWA.COM.AU - WHAT: WHERE: WHEN:

THE ES­SEN­TIALS Switzer­land Heath Ledger The­atre Un­til Sept 3

SWITZER­LAND un­folds over a few days in the life of au­thor Pa­tri­cia Highsmith.

In Switzer­land in 1995, to­wards the end of her life, the au­thor fa­mous for her dark psy­cho­log­i­cal thrillers, in­clud­ing The Tal­ented Mr Ripley, is holed up in a se­cluded hide­away, fed up with recog­ni­tion and with a col­lec­tion of guns and swords for com­pany.

Sud­denly pub­lish­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ed­ward Ridge­way ap­pears, in­tent on talk­ing Highsmith into writ­ing a fi­nal Ripley novel but with ob­vi­ous ul­te­rior mo­tives.

Both char­ac­ters change over the en­su­ing cou­ple of hours, with the ner­vous young Ridge­way be­com­ing some­one far more sin­is­ter.

Giuseppe Ro­ton­della is a won­der­ful Ridge­way, win­ning his sec­ond Black Swan The­atre role (The Light­house Girl was the first ) less than 12 months af­ter grad­u­at­ing from the WA Acad­emy of Per­form­ing Arts.

Jenny Davies pro­vides the solid per­for­mance ex­pected of a long-time and ex­pe­ri­enced Perth ac­tor and makes the most of the smart, sharp and some­times very funny di­a­logue.

But the play does not paint a flat­ter­ing pic­ture of the seem­ingly racist, smok­ing, anti-Semitic and al­co­holic Highsmith, whose gra­tu­itous bad lan­guage, for some rea­son, raised laughs from the au­di­ence at the open­ing night last week.

With­out giv­ing any­thing away, the am­bigu­ous end­ing left me won­der­ing; can some­one please ex­plain?

Switzer­land will be broad­cast live on Fri­day, Septem­ber 1 at 7.30pm from the State The­atre Cen­tre of WA to re­gional WA au­di­ences and is free of charge at All Saints Col­lege, Curtin Univer­sity and Sut­ton Com­mu­nity Cen­tre in Vic­to­ria Park.

Jill Burgess

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