DEADHOUSE: Tales Of Sydney Morgue - Season 2
This concept of small intimate audiences in Sydney’s hidden colonial buildings is an idea which deserves success. Let’s hope more of these tales are in the pipeline!
- Absolute Theatre
Louisa Collins: A Poison Crown
Simmonds and Newcombe: The deadly Run
The story is intriguing, the issues are thoughtfully presented, the location is wonderful and the array of diverse characters makes for some excellent entertainment.
- Sydney Arts Guide
It sucks you in, hits you hard and then sends you on your way, probably questioning your faith in humanity.
- Theatre Travels
While being led into the crypt at St James’ as part of Deadhouse’s A Poison Crown, you can’t help but feel a little scared. Adrenalin starts pumping as the actors, in period costume, pull you into the performance. Once you’re inside the crypt it’s dark, it’s creepy and it’s exhilarating. Being inside the performance leaves you more attached to the story once it’s over, definitely more so than most standard theatre experiences. A Poison Crown was terrifying in the best way possible and left you wondering if Louisa Collins was guilty after all.
- City Hub
"I attended this excellent play last night. I was friendly with Les Newcombe after he was finally released from prison. I also knew Kevin Simmonds' sister Jan, who I assisted with material for the book she wrote about her brother, who was killed either directly or indirectly by the brutal screws of Grafton. This play is an excellent portrayal of these two men, as well as being a fine and accurate theatrical production of one of the grimmest and most disgraceful eras of NSW penal history. The cruel Grafton Gaol regime did not end until its exposure at the Nagle Royal Commission into NSW Prisons 1976-8, where I was a lawyer who represented public interest organisations."
- Tom Kelly
Many themes, including the now youthful protests against governmental arrogance, are woven into Monsted’s short and intense story of two men, whose horrendous abuse within the prison system eventually contributed to its reform. Brought to vivid life by convincing and electric performances, and presented in a place redolent with history, The Deadly Run both saddens and inspires.
-South Sydney Herald
Gina Schien’s script highlights all the key players of the day from the police, community, courts, and government as well as local gossips and religious institutions, and paints a comprehensive picture of the context for such a life. Direction from Monsted makes good use of the site, moving the audience through each location with gravity as every scene moved closer towards Louisa’s execution.
Monsted’s production in the crypt of St James’ Church recreates the physicality of being on the run with cramped quarters and a sticky heat hanging over the action… DEADHOUSE: Tales of Sydney Morgue is an engaging and inventive way to explore the history of Sydney as a representation of changing times and attitudes in Australia. By bringing forward forgotten names from the past, DEADHOUSE reminds us of the real lives invested in policy and reform now taken for granted.
The events re-enacted are bone-rattling, wrought with violence and coarse language, making it an enveloping encounter of what it was like to be in the thick of the criminal justice scene in Sydney at the time...
The space explored is spellbinding. What a wonderful idea it is to activate the corridors of the historic church with performance! Sound swims down the halls as voices that echo. Aching drones of wind and water sound effects are enhanced and feel ominous buried under stories of thick cold concrete. Lighting and shadows against the textured walls and high arches make for a moody and captivating experience. It’s a fabulously alive space for the performance and is a perfect host for the telling of this tale.
- The buzz From Sydney