Third time’s a charm. I missed ‘They Saw a Thylacine’ at both the Melbourne and Adelaide Fringe Festivals (not to mention the resulting tour from their Tour Ready award). So I was delighted to attend the show’s opening night at the Malthouse Theatre.
In another world I can image pulling up a quilt and listening to a grandmother tell these tales of Tasmanian history. Instead, the talented duo of Sarah Hamilton and Justine Campbell combine written and oral history to create a compelling piece of theatre.
The talented duo tell the stories of a thylacine tracker and a zoo keeper’s daughter living in 1930s Tasmania. It’s a breath of fresh air to see a strong female lead in her 30s on stage (not to mention two). The two artists wrote the script and have a personal connection to their roles. Born in Tasmania, Hamilton’s great aunt photographed the thylacine on the show’s poster. The pair also portray all the supporting characters and along the way create one of the most frightening villain voices I’ve ever heard.
The production tackles conservation themes, but never veers into a pretentious lecture. The set design also gives a nod to the show’s heritage. Matthew Adey used Tasmanian wood to construct the sturdy chairs and added metal details to subtly symbolise a cage.
Don’t miss your chance to see this production before they are off on tour again.
Jenny Schmidt is an event addict. She earned a BFA in theatre and has participated in arts festivals on three different continents (plus a couple of islands). When she’s not attending live shows, you can find her sampling the latest craft beer or sipping a classic cocktail.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of The Malthouse Theatre.