The Season: Ten Days’ barnstorming opener

16 March 2017 Blogger in Chief


Stop reading now.

Leave this page, head to the booking bit and get tickets to see The Season (Theatre Royal until 19 March).

You can – and will – thank me later.

The Season is quite simply one of the best shows I have seen at Hobart’s venerable playhouse. It’s the most engrossing, entertaining and significant production I’ve enjoyed in a long time.

The premise is simple: the Duncan family reunites on Dog Island (in the Furneaux Group) for the annual mutton-bird season and, like every other family, has skeletons in its closet. But the Duncans also have generations of birding wisdom and custom to pass down and that’s not necessarily going smoothly.

The Season is bawdy and very funny, moving and poignant. Nathan Maynard’s script – and his cast’s deft touch – allows it to gently carry a deeper meaning that doesn’t ever become onerous.

The cast of seven is immensely charismatic and allows the characters to unfold with impeccable timing. They are authentic and engaging; I think that’s one of The Season’s charms. You want it all to work because the cast is giving Maynard’s unforgettable Duncans everything it has.

The spartan staging takes the audience from shack to shed to rookery with few props to distract from the narrative, and a simple soundtrack reinforces the power of music as storyteller.

The Season will leave you thinking about place and race, and it’ll make you really thankful not to be sprayed with mutton-bird gurry.

I made a point of not reading about The Season before seeing it but came away absolutely stunned by its rollicking charm.

I laughed a lot and learnt a lot and was thoroughly, royally entertained.