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Williamson at His Best | When Dad Married Fury - theatre review by Ron Lee, CSP

Riverside Theatre Parramatta

When working on the first professional production of Don’s Party in the 1970s, I became a fan of David Williamson who is now universally acknowledged as this country’s most celebrated and prolific playwright. With works such as, Jugglers Three, Emerald City, The Coming of Stork, The Removalists, Travelling North, Celluloid Heroes, The Perfectionist and many, many more, he brought Australian plays out of the British era and made them unmistakably Australian.

Written in 2012, When Dad Married Fury has already been produced several times.

Why? Because it’s that good. Alan Urquhart (Denis Moore) is a narcissist who made a pile of money from Australian clients and in the United States prior to, and after the start of the Global Financial Crisis. He is returning to Australia to celebrate his 70th birthday with his two sons and their wives and to introduce them to his new, thirty-three year-old, mid-Western American bride, a perky, positive, business-savvy, God-fearing, bible-bashing former beauty queen whose product range uses animal fur. The script comparison with Sarah Palin is almost unnecessary, and Annie Last is perfect as Fury.

So the big issue is, “how will the shares in the estate be distributed when Alan goes?” Son Ian (David James) and his lawyer wife, Sue (Nell Feeney), are successful in their own rights but are still deeply concerned about the allocation of the fortune.

The other son, Ben (Drew Tingwell), is an academic who is compelled to live a more frugal existence outside Byron Bay with his self-righteous, greenie (excuse the tautology) wife, Laura, exquisitely played by Tanya Burne.

Once the plot is established early on, it’s up to the cast and director to interpret and maximise the effect of the superbly-written script. Denis Moore who brilliantly plays Alan, also directed this production, and made the most of the subtle and not-so-subtle nuances. The second-act twists had the audience lurching from belly laughs to genuine sadness and back again. Audience response is the real indicator of the level of success of any production, and the full house couldn’t get enough.

I thoroughly enjoyed this production of one of Williamson’s newer works and it reminded me of the reason I became a fan almost forty years ago.

When Dad Married Fury is only playing for a short time at the Riverside Theatre.

Go and see it if you can get tickets.

You can find out more about Ron at

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