Tuesday, 11 April 2017


(Sydney Theatre Company)

The play 'Talk' seems an ideal play for Sydney which appears to have the reputation as the shock jock talk radio capital of the nation.

A high rating talk radio announcer is facing arrest for revealing details not presented to the jury in a child molestation case. His resistance catches the attention of citizens whose feelings he cleverly manipulates as well as that of competing media organisations.

Local readers may well think this all sounds rather close to the bone of some extremely high profile situations in recent years involving an Australian media personality with pretensions to a Parliamentary career. If so, I couldn't possibly confirm that suggestion.

It is a rather ambitious work bringing together the invasive and subjective elements of 21st Century social media practices with recollections of a now distant past of professional ethical journalism. As a consequence I thought some of the references went over the heads of younger members of the audience. At the same time, some of the more modern references seemed stereotypical.

The staging is especially impressive with the stage split into sections. There are two levels. The bottom level represents an ageing public broadcaster news room on one side with a swishly furnished newspaper editorial suite on the other side. Above both these settings sits a modern high tech commercial radio studio. Lighting and sound design cleverly focus the audiences' attention on the flow of action. The staging arguably is the strongest aspect of the work.


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