Therry Dramatic Society
The Arts Theatre
Until 25 Aug 2018

Review by Janice Bailey

“The One Day of the Year” is an Australian play by Alan Seymour, originally written in 1958 for an amateur playwriting competition, which it won. The play was inspired by an article in the University of Sydney newspaper Honi Soit, denouncing Anzac Day. Needless to say, on its release, “The One Day of the Year” created a public furore.

The play explores the universal theme of father/son conflict set against the background of a nostalgic sentimentality toward Anzac Day. John Rosen is convincing as Alf, the father who has worked in a deadend job all his working life so that his son could attend University. Anzac Day represents the one day of the year when Alf becomes a ‘somebody’ – boozing with his mates and remembering those good men who didn’t return.

Julie Quick inhabits the role of Dot, the anchor of the family, understanding Alf’s need to celebrate Anzac Day but also realizing that Hughie, their son, is of a new generation and has a very different view of Anzac Day. Quick’s performance never falters as she tries to hold the family together.

Jai Pearce has a pivotal role in providing the conflict by raising questions about the tradition and relevance of Anzac Day. It is a difficult role, and at times Pearce’s delivery is faltering and lacks conviction. Ashley Penny is suitably aloof as Hughie’s girlfriend who has convinced Hughie to take unflattering photographs of drunken soldiers celebrating Anzac Day to be published with an article she has written.

Christopher Leech is outstanding as Wacka, delivering a strong and convincing character. His description of his experience at the Anzac landing is powerful and heart-wrenching.

Kerrin White’s set design is innovative, combining modern elements with furniture of the era. White, as director, has created a very good production of this controversial play which should be seen by a wider range of age groups than those present on the night that this review represents.