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The seriously hilarious Americanisation of the Australian theatre audience

By Richard Stanton - posted Tuesday, 3 May 2016

How funny is The Great Fire, a new play by Kit Brookman?

Well, not funny at all if the audience at Belvoir St Theatre in Sydney's Surry Hills is your guide.

Comprised of Boomers and Millennials, the audience was the narrative. Maybe that was the problem – too close to home.


Brookman has written a very funny, imaginative work and the cast members provide superlative delivery of the product, especially the gorgeous and delectable Genevieve Picot.

But if you were waiting for the funny bits to be applauded and laughed at you will be waiting a very long time.

The whole play was funny - full of irony and folly.

So either we have become so politically correct that we feel we need to frown upon the most innocuous aside, or we have become Americanised.

Brookman has our number.

The Great Fire is right up there with Martin McDonagh's Pillowman - contemporary narratives that take the piss and show us exactly what it is we look like from the outside.


We Boomers don't like anyone taking the piss out of us. We worked very hard to get where we are and we take seriously the concepts of global warming, unemployment and migration.

We can't help it if Millennials can't find work and can't pay the rent. In the sixties and seventies we wrote songs about how hard it was for us breaking away from our Frugal parents and grandparents.

We know all about the hardship of living on a state superannuation pension, the exhaustion of constant travel between our city apartment and the beach house, the anxious decisions we have to make about leaving the fridge on or getting someone reliable to mow.

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About the Author

Richard Stanton is a political communication writer and media critic. His most recent book is Do What They Like: The Media In The Australian Election Campaign 2010.

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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