HIGH, LOW HIGHSMITH
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.