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All Stops Out

Production dates: July 20, 1989
Venue: The Australian Theatre for Young People
Directed by: Mark Gaal
Literature: Michael Gow
Costume Design: Ross Wallace
Set Design: Ross Wallace
Music: Blair Greenberg

The story of two friendships: When Sam (Morgan Lewis) and Danny (Chris Tomkinson) meet on a beach, they're about to begin Year 12 - the dreaded year of the Higher School Certificate. As well, they're both the only children in single-parent families. But there the similarity ends. Sam is a bright and apparently committed student, Danny is a disenchanted underachiever. In another story, Jenny (Melanie Hickinson) is a young inmate of a women's prison, who's persuaded by her social worker to finish her HSC - a plan that her cell-mate, Linda (Toni Collette), finds preposterous.

Cast & Characters

Morgan Lewis (Sam), Virginia Gillard (Jane), Chris Tomkinson (Danny), Luke Cross (Graham), Melanie Hickson (Jenny), Toni Collette (Linda), Thomasin Litchfield (Cath), Simon Stokes (Ian)

Reviews

The Sydney Morning Herald, John Carmody (July 23, 1989)
There’s quite a good play somewhere in here, but like the adolescents who are its principal concerns, it is immature and, even if the shell has cracked, it is a chick that is not yet ready to emerge. Writing for adolescents is a challenge which is fully worthy of the abilities of so gifted an artist as Gow, but success has so far eluded him. Lines which look satisfactory on the page too often fail to convince the ear, which is the real test.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Pamela Payne-Heckenberg (July 22, 1989)
Playwright Michael Gow has extended his canvas well beyond a simple narrative of schoolboys’ endeavours: he interrogates the very notion of formal education and he elaborates his argument across the spectrum – from kids’ views about school, community perceptions of the education system to parents’ concerns and expectations. Ultimately, Gow has a good deal of criticism about the existing system, but a strength of his writing is the provocative grey shade between his black and his white. Gaal’s direction is clean, crisp and dynamic. This is a young company of ATYP participants – and not professional actors. But what they sometimes lack in technique they more than compensate with in performances that are fortright, vital and honest.