AustLit logo
Wake in Fright single work   drama  
Adaptation of Wake in Fright Kenneth Cook , 1961 single work novel
Issue Details: First known date: 2019... 2019 Wake in Fright
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'G’day. Welcome to the Yabba. Just passing through?

'It’s the best little town in the world. Things a bit grim? Chin up.

'John Grant is well-read, but an outback misadventure strands him—cashless and jobless—in a harsh and remote Aussie outpost, Bundanyabba.

'So, he makes new ‘mates’: they’re quick with a drink, but with every scull a dark violence lurches forward. Are these blokes fair dinkum, or is there something more sinister at the heart of this little Aussie town?

'On our Beckett Theatre stage, the entire world of Wake in Fright is conjured by the always-evocative Zahra Newman (The Book of Mormon) accompanied by a sonic assault from art-electronica band, friendships. Under the direction of Declan Greene, Kenneth Cook’s iconic work of Australian Gothic horror is felt in the flesh. Bring sunscreen, buy a beer and wear your ear plugs.

'Once we pierce the Yabba’s ocker veneer, you better be ready for the explosive brutality pent up inside.'

Source: Malthouse Theatre.

Notes

  • Adapted as a one-woman show.

Production Details

  • Produced by the Malthouse Theatre, 21 June to 14 July 2019.

    Music: Friendships.

    Cast: Zahra Newman.


    Presented by Black Swan State Theatre Company of South Australia at Studio Underground, 15 October - 1 November 2020.

    Director: Declan Greene.

    Music and Composition: Friendships.

    Sound Design: James Paul.

    Lighting & Projection Design: Verity Hampson.

    Co-Creator: Zahra Newman.

    Cast: Alexandria Steffensen.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Best Stage Performances of 2019 Alison Croggon , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 21 December - 24 January 2019-2020;

'While Australian artists face challenging times, brilliant work is still being staged.'

Intended Sense of Moral Anxiety Pervades Stage Reinvention of Wake in Fright Chris Boyd , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 28 June 2019; (p. 16)

— Review of Wake in Fright Declan Greene , 2019 single work drama

'If you know Wake in Fright only from its screen adaptations, Kenneth Cook’s original novel is a shockingly modern thing. It has none of the malevolence that defines the 1971 movie and 2017 miniseries remake. Instead, there is a pervasive sense of moral anxiety.'(Introduction)

[Review] Wake in Fright Tim Byrne , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , August no. 413 2019; (p. 63)
'The idea of the outsider is, of course, a concept shared by all living beings; the jellyfish and the silverback gorilla alike have trained themselves to distrust a stranger. But there is something particular about the Australian suspicion of otherness, a ruddy and avuncular mask that hides an abiding, almost pathological, wariness. It’s a national quirk that Kenneth Cook’s 1961 novel Wake in Fright – set in the fictional town of Bundanyabba, and based on the author’s experiences in Broken Hill – so memorably mined, and one that playwright Declan Greene milks to almost uncanny effect in his new stage adaptation.' (Introduction)
Actress Zahra Newman Takes on Wake in Fright Emily Bitto , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 6-12 July 2019;
'Renowned Australian actor Zahra Newman knows what it feels like to be an outsider. In bringing that experience to the Malthouse Theatre’s one-woman adaptation of Wake in Fright, she shines a light on discrimination and toxic masculinity in our society. “Part of the thing that is nightmarish about Wake in Fright is the culture having to stomach the reality of that reflection without just lashing out against it.”'  (Article summary)
A Radical New Adaptation Eviscerates the Dominance of Male Voices in Wake in Fright Denise Varney , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 1 July 2019;

'Australian literary classics are currently enjoying a comeback at our major theatre companies. Over the past three years Cloudstreet, Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Drover’s Wife, among others, have been adapted for the stage. At their best, stage adaptations recognise the cultural value of the original texts, while offering fresh insights for new audiences through the medium of theatre. (Introduction)

Intended Sense of Moral Anxiety Pervades Stage Reinvention of Wake in Fright Chris Boyd , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 28 June 2019; (p. 16)

— Review of Wake in Fright Declan Greene , 2019 single work drama

'If you know Wake in Fright only from its screen adaptations, Kenneth Cook’s original novel is a shockingly modern thing. It has none of the malevolence that defines the 1971 movie and 2017 miniseries remake. Instead, there is a pervasive sense of moral anxiety.'(Introduction)

A Radical New Adaptation Eviscerates the Dominance of Male Voices in Wake in Fright Denise Varney , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 1 July 2019;

'Australian literary classics are currently enjoying a comeback at our major theatre companies. Over the past three years Cloudstreet, Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Drover’s Wife, among others, have been adapted for the stage. At their best, stage adaptations recognise the cultural value of the original texts, while offering fresh insights for new audiences through the medium of theatre. (Introduction)

Actress Zahra Newman Takes on Wake in Fright Emily Bitto , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 6-12 July 2019;
'Renowned Australian actor Zahra Newman knows what it feels like to be an outsider. In bringing that experience to the Malthouse Theatre’s one-woman adaptation of Wake in Fright, she shines a light on discrimination and toxic masculinity in our society. “Part of the thing that is nightmarish about Wake in Fright is the culture having to stomach the reality of that reflection without just lashing out against it.”'  (Article summary)
[Review] Wake in Fright Tim Byrne , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , August no. 413 2019; (p. 63)
'The idea of the outsider is, of course, a concept shared by all living beings; the jellyfish and the silverback gorilla alike have trained themselves to distrust a stranger. But there is something particular about the Australian suspicion of otherness, a ruddy and avuncular mask that hides an abiding, almost pathological, wariness. It’s a national quirk that Kenneth Cook’s 1961 novel Wake in Fright – set in the fictional town of Bundanyabba, and based on the author’s experiences in Broken Hill – so memorably mined, and one that playwright Declan Greene milks to almost uncanny effect in his new stage adaptation.' (Introduction)
Best Stage Performances of 2019 Alison Croggon , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 21 December - 24 January 2019-2020;

'While Australian artists face challenging times, brilliant work is still being staged.'

Last amended 23 Oct 2019 07:55:58
X