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  • Writer's pictureFiona Prior

Dubbo Championship Wrestling

Updated: May 26, 2022

Director: Sheridan Harbridge

Book and lyrics by Daniel Cullen

Music by Daniel and James Cullen

Total fun! That’s what Hayes Theatre company production of ’Dubbo Championship Wrestling’ brought to its very responsive audience.

I’m originally from a small country town; smaller than Dubbo. We had the café selling milkshakes, chips and chiko rolls, a main street that took 60 seconds to walk, a Catholic primary school (50 pupils at most) with the blue and white statue of Mary in the corner fronted by a vase of plastic roses … the school kids chanting pub-wackers (pubic school), connie-wackers (convent school) … not to mention the demarcation between ‘townies’ and ‘farmers’.

And then there was televised wrestling. The wrestling that had nothing to do with contemporary cage wrestling or boxing or martial arts. The wrestling we watched was pure theatre (thank god!), where we watched heads jumped on from the ropes, foreheads butted, eyes gorged and ears bitten!

If this little walk-down small-town memory lane pulls at any heart strings do go and see ‘Dubbo Championship Wrestling’. It is a heart-warming play about reality and make-believe, the takers and the givers, and the need for ‘home’, wherever ‘home’ may have pitched its tent.

Vibrant music and libretto by the Cullen duo, tone-correct direction by Sheridan Harbridge and a great cast that warmly takes ownership of their roles (Zoe Ionnou, Genevieve Lemon, Luke Leong-Tay, Noni McMallum, Terry Serio, Justin Smith, Aaron Tsindos and Bishanyia Vincent).

I particularly loved Bishanyia’s portrayal of ‘Feral Cheryl’; the nasty big-haired, big mouthed, big arsed, bad girl who wants to exploit the country town and ‘Perfect Ten Ken (Tsindos); a disgraced. World Champion Wrestler coming off his steroids and uppers, who cries like a bub when he realises that world champion wrestling isn’t real, and every one has been letting him win!

image: courtesy of Phil Erbacher

'Dubbo Championship Wrestling' is a thoroughly good-time evening.

Hayes Theatre

19 Greenknowe Avenue, Elizabeth Bay.

(*Disclaimer: I’m not sure how much of this production’s appeal comes from being born in a small country town. You will have to judge for yourselves.)

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