Photos – Chris Lundie

Who, what, where, when, why. The old school five Ws mantra of journalism.

For years it was the catechism for Fleet Street news hounds until a mongrel maverick named Murdoch, a cocky upstart Colonial took over a struggling sheet, The Sun, turned it into a tear away tabloid, and replaced Why? With What’s next?

The rising of The Sun and the sunset of England’s traditional press peerage is the enthralling, sometimes appalling story presented in James Graham’s sprawling, epic play, Ink.

As much as Murdoch was the money, it was Larry Lamb, the man chosen by Murdoch to be editor of The Sun who steered it to success, and Ink is as much his story as the so-called “Dirty Digger.”

Nick Curnow’s performance as Larry Lamb is the head and shoulders, the heart and mind, of Louise Fischer’s production. Passed over for years by his former boss, Hugh Cudlipp, Larry’s loyalty lies leeched when Murdoch pumps fresh blood into his ambition and aspirations.

Curnow gives an invigorating portrayal that is palpable, fostering a collegiate culture within the newspaper’s office and printing presses, thereby forging a fierce loyalty, a fealty sometimes tested by rusted on tradition.

In Curnow’s hands we see the lion in the Lamb and we also see the conflict he grapples with, particularly his class roots and the collision of propriety and progress. He is well aware of Cudlipp’s caution: “Pander to and promote the most base instincts of people all you like, fine, create an appetite, but I warn you. You’ll have to keep feeding it.”

This is quasi documentary theatre done with dash, a compression of a year delivered in an entertaining three hour narrative with a large ensemble creating a rich and colourful cavalcade of characters.

Tom Bannerman’s multi level set creates an ample depth of scope, especially when the stage is populated by the entire cast, augmented by the 200 sound and light and video projection queues, a mammoth achievement from lighting designer, Peter Ross, sound designer, Kevin Davidson and vision designer, Verica Nikolic.

In reminding us of events fifty-five years ago, INK is a timely reminder of who, what, where, when, why that’s put us where we’re at now ... and what’s next?

Event details

New Theatre presents
Ink
by James Graham

Director Louise Fischer

Venue: New Theatre | 542 King Street Newtown NSW
Dates: 28 May – 29 June 2024
Tickets: $37 – $32
Bookings: newtheatre.org.au

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