By Tatum Stafford
Celia Pacquola is a firecracker of Australian entertainment – and her spritely opening
address to an eager opening night audience at the State Theatre on Wednesday night only
further proved this.
‘The Torrents’ was written by Oriel Gray in 1955 and chronicles the plight of a headstrong
female journalist in a country town in the late 1890s. Fascinatingly, as Pacquola mentioned
in her pre-show monologue, this production is only the second time that this show has been
A co-production from Black Swan and Sydney Theatre Companies, the performance of this
quick-witted play challenges ideals and is packed with laughs and heart. As the curtain rose,
we were presented with a somewhat familiar set of a small country town’s office – but as
the play progresses, it becomes so much more than that. Not only is the Western Argus
newspaper’s office a congregation point for its workers, but it serves as a stop on the
journey of each character as they flit in and out in moments of chaos, yearning or even
The cast of ‘The Torrents’ are sublime. Led by the effervescent Paquola as J. G. (Jenny)
Milford; a determined and steadfast young journalist, each character slots effortlessly into
the place of the story and makes for series of very entertaining banter and repartee with
one another (much to the audience’s delight).
Tony Cogin was charmingly authoritative as the newspaper editor Rufus Torrent, and his son
Ben (hilariously portrayed by Gareth Davies) provides a majority of the show’s physical and
nuanced comedy sequences. The ‘three musketeers’ at the paper are Jock McDonald (Sam
Longley), Bernie (Rob Johnson) and Christy (Geoff Kelso) – all of whom display perfect
comedic timing and, eventually, provide a sentimental core to what could be deemed a
bleak show about female suppression in the workforce.
Emily Rose Brennan marks her return to Black Swan after her brilliant performance in
Water, appearing in this play as Gwynne – a traditional-turned-new woman who serves as
an excellent representation of the effects of female empowerment and strong female role
models. Her ever-pursuing companion Kingsley is played spritefully by the cheery Luke
All in all, this play is a delight to attend, and every one of its cast and creatives should be
very pleased with the power that this performance holds in today’s post-modern society
that is more adaptive and reactive to positive change than ever. Toi toi for a long, healthy
Photo Credit: Philip Gostelow
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.