Let the Sunshine

By David Williamson. The Q Theatre. 28 Apr 2012

As the name alludes to, Let the Sunshine is a satire about the traditional dichotomy of left and right wing ideals, but also the shades of grey that inevitably smudge the black and white with the change of generation.

Ros (Toni Scanlon) and Toby (Dennis Coard) are lefty intellectuals who have fled from Sydney to Noosa in QLD for a sea change after Toby’s reputation as a documentary maker is severely tarnished.

Despairing at the culturally bankrupt life in Noosa, their only companions are now Natasha (Alexandra Fowler) and Ron (Peter Phelps) – an old school friend of Ros’s and her property developing, John Howard-worshipping husband.

Just when both couples are about to abandon the incompatible friendship, enter Rick (Ryan Hayward) the aspiring musician and Emma (Hannah Norris) the strung out corporate lawyer; the couples respective, idealistically opposed offspring.

While superficially Rick and Emma despise what the other represents, chemistry wins out and the pair, much to their parents dismay, create a bond between the two families and a merging of entrenched beliefs.

As their life paths tangle it is obvious that, in their own ways, they’ve become casualties of their inclinations, and ultimately caricatures of themselves – with compromise the only solution.

With a cast of veteran TV actors, Let the Sunshine utilises their collective talent and experience to create a play light on gimmicks and brimming with substance and sharp social commentary.

Within the perimeters of the no-frills set, they lucidly bring to life this fiercely intelligent and refreshingly colloquial piece of work with conviction, bouncing off each other like squash balls in an executive court with ferocious wit and impeccable comedic timing.

What also struck was the pace of this production, shifting seamlessly and rapidly from scene to scene, creating a constant feast of stimuli and sense of momentum that made it impossible to disengage from.

Let the Sunshine goes beyond the well-trodden path of the baby boomer, generation gap lament, to a truly observant and thought-provoking reflection of the Australian zeitgeist – of where we’re heading as a culture.

It’s accessible, yet challenging Australian theatre and is most definitely worthy of an evening out of the philosophical comfort zone.

Let the Sunshine is touring regional NSW until May 19.

Deborah Hawke

When: 28 Apr to 19 May
Where: Touring