The Father We Loved On A Beach By The Sea

July 21st, 1978 — August 12th, 1978


La Boite Theatre, Brisbane


La Boite Theatre


Jeremy Ridgman


Steve Sewell


Peter Stokes
Daryl Hewson
Paul Eperjesi
Mia Retrot
Bill Gentle
Malcolm Cole
Bill Raguse
Graham Thomas
Ron May
Brian Gentle
David Jessop
Julie Purcell
Katherine Mahony

Costume Designer

Lesley Ricketts

Lighting Designer

Bob Sorich

Sound Designer

Judy Burton

Stephen Sewell’s new play The Father We Loved on the Beach by the Sea, directed by Jeremy Ridgman received a mixed critical response. Colin Robertson summed it up as “the work is a germ of an idea which needs a lot of rewriting to turn it into a play”.[i]

Under the headline “Four-letter father flops”, Tickell described it as “substandard theatre”[ii] and David Rowbotham said of it, “La Boite Theatre is doing the playwright, the players, and itself, a disservice”. His main criticism was, like Robertson’s, its unreadiness for a public production, declaring “it should have been withheld until Mr. Sewell was able to match the craft of writing and construction with the play’s human and political intent, and practised actors were available”.[iii]

Whilst theatre reviewer Richard Fotheringham did not disagree with this criticism, he drew attention to the absolute appropriateness of this kind of production at La Boite: “… putting on the work of new local writers is surely one of the most vital functions La Boite performs, and the category obviously deserves a special and sympathetic critical response”.[iv] He blamed the play’s poor audiences on the unsympathetic damning it got from both The Australian and The Courier-Mail. Another voice that publicly supported La Boite and this production was Veronica Kelly, a lecturer in the department of English at the University of Queensland. “I was impressed,” she wrote “by the scope of the play and admired the production. … New theatre writing is best encouraged by the experience of production, and La Boite has an admirable creative record in fostering the growth of talent not only in actors and directors, but in playwrights as well”.[v]

Writer: Christine Comans

[i] The Australian, 24 July, 1978.

[ii] The Telegraph, July 26, 1978.

[iii] The Courier-Mail, July 24, 1978.

[iv] Fotheringham in Theatre Australia September 1978 p.28.

[v] The Courier-Mail, Letters to the Editor August 2, 1978.

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