Lyric Square, Hammersmith, London W6 0QL

Our Country's Good Poster
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Our Country's Good

September 5 - October 5, 2024

Timberlake Wertenbaker's play remains terrifyingly relevant

The Guardian

Why See Our Country's Good?

PlaysOlivier WinnersTrue-life HistoricalSocial Commentary

Olivier Winner

Timberlake Wertenbaker's Olivier Award-Winning play is to be revived at the Lyric Hammersmith, under the eye of director and Lyric CEO Rachel O'Riordan! Originally written in 1988 and nowadays often studied in schools, Wertenbaker's work is a meditation on class, history and in the interactions of the settlers with the indigenous Aboriginals, and what it really means to be 'civilized'. In the 18th Century, crime and punishment meant very different things to the citizens of England, when even a minor indiscretion (stealing a loaf of bread) could land you being sentenced to Transportation. Transportation, simply put, was a treacherous months-long journey to Australia, then an extended stay in the newly discovered and unfriendly country, with no return ticket.

Winner of two Oliviers and nominated for multiple Tonys, Timberlake Wertenbaker's play draws on historical sources and journals of the convicts, and the disgruntled naval officers charged with their care, to create a thoughtful portrait of a 'new' country being changed, and not necessarily for the better. Central to the plot is a play within a play, in which Second Lieutenant Ralph Clark attempts to put on a performance of George Farquhar's The Recruiting Officer, with a cast of mainly illiterate and uncooperative thieves, prostitutes and murderers who are transformed by theatre.

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Opening night: 5 September 2024



Run time

Two hours 45 minutes including interval


You may be required to wear a mask during this performance. Please contact the venue directly for more information.

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