A localised version of Ben Elton's first play, this version of Gasp! is set in Australia in the 21st century.
The theatre company offers the following synopsis:
Phillip is an ambitious junior executive for Lockheart Resources, a major Australian mining company on the verge of collapse. The problem? There’s nothing left to mine! Under intense pressure from his boss, Chifley Lockheart, Phillip comes up with an idea for an exclusive new product, one for those that appreciate the finer things in life—designer air.
Phillip’s invention—the Suck ‘n’ Blow—stores air and cleans it before releasing it again, and soon becomes the must-have product for anyone wanting to breathe a little easier. Everything seems to be going well for Phillip; he gets promoted, he’s raking in money, and he’s landed his dream girl. The problem is, the Suck ‘n’ Blow stores too much oxygen, and the air’s getting thinner by the day. It isn’t long before Lockheart comes up with a solution: privatising the air industry. Not just premium air, all air. If you can’t pay, you can’t breathe.
Soon enough, thousands of people are suffering and suffocating, unable to pay the high price of oxygen, while air companies burn the excess to maintain a stable market. People are getting desperate, willing to do anything to breathe, but Lockheart won’t back down. Phillip faces a crisis of conscience, and must choose between his career and his personal convictions.
Source: Black Swan Theatre Company (http://www.bsstc.com.au/season-2014/gasp/). (Sighted: 27/10/2014)
First produced in 1990 at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London’s West End.