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REVIEW: Ink by James Graham

University of Adelaide Theatre Guild wants to tell you a story. And it’s true. That’s what makes it a good f**cking story, right, ’cause all the best stories are true…

A cast of accomplished actors bring to life Jame Graham’s play that tell the story that leads with the birth of England’s most influential newspaper when a young, rebellious Rupert Murdoch asked the impossible and launched its first editor’s quest, against all odds, to give the people what they want.

It’s 1969 on Fleet Street and The Sun rises.

The play Ink centres around Murdoch’s newly purchased The Sun and the best selling newspaper in the world, The Mirror and the cast of wonderfully colourful characters breath life into their roles with cringe-worthy moments but also with laugh-out-loud hilarity. It’s crazy to believe now what used to go on in the 1960’s and indeed what they used to get away with but here we are.

Joshua Coldwell as a young, ambitious and obnoxious Rupert Murdoch is delightful to watch and you find yourself constantly trying to find the soul in the character and any redeeming qualities as he draws away on his cigarettes. Very well played.

Bart Csorba as Larry Lamb is infectious, his role is multi-layered and his brings realness to this part that is required. Hard working and determined to make the paper a success but being a good sport all during the process. It’s not an easy role but Bart grabs this challenge and runs with it seemingly effortlessly.

Kate Anolak in her roles as Joyce and Murirel is an absolute charmer. She is wonderful to experience on stage and her engagement in the character draws you in with great appeal. There were moments I saw Magda Szubanksi’s character Lynne emerge and this was fun. I want to see this actor more, she’s a total gem.

The entire cast run with their characters with confidence and aplomb, from the eager and hapless photographer Beverly (Charlie Milne) through to the steadfast Brian McConnell (Gary George), it is a joy to experience such an array of very talented individuals come together.

The birth of the Page Three girl for The Sun was a special part of the play, and they covered this with incredible sensitivity and depth. Very eye-opening in it’s delivery. Sakira Young played this with great range and displayed a certain naivety and pain at the appropriate moments.

The theatre was The Little Theatre in Adelaide Uni’s Cloister area. A terrific venue for this play and was interesting to see how they worked the entire theatre including audience area to make it all a part of the story. The set is great and much attention to detail has gone into this with some great wallpapering of newspaper headline strewn across the back wall which covered many pop culture moments from Charles and Di, to ‘Whacko Jacko’, ‘Big Boobied’ Madonna, Fergie’s ‘Toe-Sucking’ Incident and Rolf Harris’ shame.

Walking into the show knowing of it’s 3.25 hour duration was, I cannot lie, a bit daunting at the end of an already long day, BUT, time fleeted (no pun intended) and the story that was being told whisked you away and time was not something you were paying attention to. A very captivating piece of theatre that made you think and laugh.

The directors Robert Bell and Rebecca Kemp should be very proud of this. UATG are doing some stunning theatre and I cannot wait to see what they bring us in 2024. Bravo.

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