Monday, October 02, 2006

The Oil for Food Inheritance?

On Saturday night I attended the play "The Voysey Inheritance" by Harley Granville Barker at the New Theatre Sydney. The 2006 production, directed by Kevin Jackson, has many rough edges, with the cast having to be prompted for their lines several times. This is not the well received revival at London's National Theatre.

The play revolves around a wealthy, respectable family of English solicitors, early last century. As the play opens Edward Voysey is told by his father that the family business has been defrauding its clients for two generations and he has to decide to continue the family fraud or expose the to ruin.

The most fascinating part was not the play itself, but that the New Theatre actors are from Australian TV production. As well as the soap opera "Home and Away", ABC "Four Corners" used several New Theatre actors to reenact the Oil for Food inquiry ("Inquiry into certain Australian companies in relation to the UN Oil-For-Food Programme").

Voysey senior's explanation to his son of how he inherited the fraud from his father sounded like the testimony recreated by some of the same actors into how Australian politicians, business people and diplomats allegedly became involved in the bribing of Iraqi politicians, breaking of UN sanctions and the funding of terrorism.

Perhaps the New Theatre should commission an edited version of the Oil for Food inquiry as a theatrical performance, much like their successful production of "The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde". This would make a more riveting performance than The Voysey Inheritance did.

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