shows: Ballina Players’ Summer of the Seventeenth Doll ...........
W ELL-KNOWN Ballina theatre identity Mary Richards returns to the stage after a 25-year absence in Ballina Players’ Summer of the Seventeenth Doll.
Ray Lawler’s classic Australian play tells the story of North Queensland cane-cutters Roo (played by Carl Moore) and Barney (Graeme Speed), who have for 16 summers spent their long lay off between seasons living it up in Melbourne with Carlton barmaids Olive (Natasha Kilby) and Nancy.
Things change during their 17th summer as time catches up with them. Nancy has gone and her straitlaced replacement Pearl (Christianna Hopley) doesn’t see the point of the traditions that have become so important to the others.
Richards is relishing her central role in the play as ageing harridan mother Emma.
While Emma seems a figure of fun, she has been a shrewd observer over the years and is well placed to understand what is happening as problems arise.
‘‘It is a magnificent play which captures the essence of Australia in the ’50s,’’ Richards says.
‘‘The characters and situations are vivid and instantly recognisable and provide a warm, nostalgic look at ‘the way we were’.’’
Directed by David Addenbrooke, Ballina Players’ staging features set design by Eddie Richards.
Mary Richards and Carl Moore in
Summer of the Seventeenth Doll.