“The convicts laugh at hangings, sir. They see ’em all the time.”
In the prison colony of Australia, morale is low among soldiers and convicts alike. Governor Phillip suggests that a play might inspire the prisoners to lead better lives. Lt. Ralph Clark volunteers to direct the performance, even though half his cast is likely to hang before opening night.
“Our Country’s Good” is a fiendishly tricky comedy to pull off. Most of the actors play both soldiers and convicts. It’s tempting to go broad with one role while saving your best work for the other. Accents only add to the difficulty.
Alexandria Lewis triumphs as Dabby Bryant. Her performance is really something special. She’s thought through every fidget and barbed question as the scrappy girl from Devon who uses others.
Hunter Buck’s Wisehammer goes completely outside expectations, remolding the Jewish wordsmith into a Liverpudlian savant. It shouldn’t work, but Buck makes it oddly charming.
Jareth Spirio tackles the Irish hangman Ketch with remarkable energy and soul. We found ourselves resenting the playwright for not giving us more time with the guilt-ridden rascal.
Plays about plays inevitably beg for bad acting. If you find that gimmick funny, you’ll have a blast. For those seeking more nuanced work, there’s still plenty to enjoy from this immensely talented cast.
High praise for the costumes by Maelia Kahlua and Haley Hunsaker. The uniforms look sharp, while the convicts’ rags express surprising bits of personality.
After attending two shows at the new Osborne, it’s clear that UCCS students consider the upstairs theatre their home turf. We’ll be interested to see how the Ent Center juggles a casual venue with their other offerings.
“Our Country’s Good” features explicit sexual dialogue and gallows humor.
UCCS Theatre Company
February 23 – March 4, 2018
Osborne Studio Theatre at
Ent Center for the Arts
5225 N Nevada Ave
Admission: $5 general; UCCS students free (buy tickets)
Running Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes