May 20, 2009

Following his triumphant performance in The Club last year, John Wood returns to The Roxy in Bingara to introduce us to one of the great comic creations of Australian dramatic literature.

Dawn breaks over One Tree Hill, ‘a panorama of dust, ant hills, and dead grass’ somewhere in northern Victoria.  Octogenarian hermit Monk O’Neill tumbles out of his derelict caravan, performs a few random exercises and begins another day. 

Maybe it’s his last, maybe not.  He edits his last will and testament just in case.

Between breakfast, lunch and drinks he recalls his exploits in sport and the arts, a sojourn in Paris, meeting the famous, romantic trysts and sexual feats.  

As Monk O’Neill, John Wood is lustfully misogynist, entertaining, treacherous, loyal, endearing and sometimes shocking – even today – in this extraordinary piece of Australian theatre.

A Stretch of the Imagination is a surreal black comedy written by renowned playwright Jack Hibberd (Dimboola), first performed in 1972.  Hibberd’s Australian classic is a gift to John Wood’s comic sensibilities and acting prowess.  The audience is putty in his hands as he creaks and flits around the stage, his handsome girth put to repugnant good use.  

John Wood’s portrayal of the irascible bush philosopher and yarn spinner, epic lover and mate, heroic battler and individualist, sportsman, cultured man-of-letters and bon-vivant, has been described by The Advertiser as “a one-man tour de force not to be missed.”

Of O’Neill, Wood says "He’s one of the most deeply interesting characters I’ve had anything to do with, a really amazing personality that is on the one hand grotesque and hysterically funny, but then he can also be exquisitely charming and endearing.’

"He’s fascinating’ Wood continues. "Monk does things I wouldn’t dream of doing, certainly not in public and probably not in private either, like wandering around in a tired old jockstrap’ he says. 

The Sydney Morning Herald writes “No sooner had Stretch premiered than it was deemed an Australian classic, for good reason.  It was bold and absurd, it spoke about and to Australians, it boisterously let rip with the vernacular and gave its actor the chance to show his mettle.”

A Stretch of the Imagination is directed by Dennis Moore who astounded audiences with his brilliant performance as the President in 2008’s The Club.  Moore says “Through John Wood’s virtuoso performance as Monk, he encourages us all to ‘stretch our imaginations’ and come to new ways of thinking about ourselves and the country in which we live.”

This show is bound to sell out.  Don’t miss this wonderful production at The Roxy on Friday 12th June at 8:00pm. 

Bookings:  Bingara Tourist Information Centre tel:  67 24 0066.