Saturday, November 28th, 2015 - Old Mill Theatre

LOYALTY, honour and love are explored in the Old Mill Theatre’s latest offering, the quintessential Australian play No Names, No Pack Drill.

Written by Bob Herbert and directed by Kristen Twynam-Perkins, it’s been described as a romantic drama based, in part, on an incident involving Herbert’s sister and an American soldier at Kings Cross.

No Names, No Pack Drill is set in the Sydney summer of 1942 and looks at the effect of the so-called “Yankee invasion” during World War II.

The story focuses on Kathy, a young married woman who lives in Kings Cross, who wakes up the morning after a party to find a US marine asleep on her couch.

He is absent-without-leave, looking for a way back to the US – and what happens next changes the trajectory of both their lives.

The play was later adapted into the 1985 film Rebel, featuring Matt Dillon, Bryan Brown and Debra Byrne, winning five AFI (Australian Film Institute) awards.

“I’d heard the Old Mill Theatre was looking for a new director for its season of No Names, No Pack Drill and, having previously directed the play 13 years ago at Roleystone Theatre, I put my hand up,” Twynam-Perkins said.

“I have always loved the story and the characters in this play – for me, it is about the characters, context and story more than anything else.” 

With more than 20 years’ experience as a performer, director and choreographer, Twynam-Perkins has more than 70 productions to her credit, working with Playlovers, Roleystone, Stirling, Garrick, Marloo, Limelight and KADS Theatres on Working, Curtains, Bare, Eurobeat, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Spamalot, Gruesome Playground Injuries and My Fair Lady.

In 2008, Bare was named best musical at the annual Finley Awards with Twynam-Perkins also nominated for best choreographer and best director while, most recently, she appeared in Graceland, winner of the Jenny McNae Adjudicator’s Award at the 2015 Dramafest.

Her work as a drama teacher at Helena College has also kept her busy, directing The Laramie Project, The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Cloudstreet, The Importance of Being Earnest, Seussical, Honk, The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet and Peter Pan.

“The main challenge with No Names, No Pack Drill is the dated language,” Twynam-Perkins said.

“It can come across as being quite dry at times and this creates a bit of a static feel to the piece.

“To overcome this, we have focused on the characterisations.”

No Names, No Pack Drill plays at 8pm December 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18 and 19 with a special 4pm matinee December 13 (matinee includes free Christmas refreshments and complimentary glass of champagne). Tickets are $25, $20 concession – book at or on 9367 8719.

It is the seventh and final show in a year of all-Australian plays at the Old Mill Theatre to commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli landing in 2015.

The heritage-listed Old Mill Theatre is on the corner of Mends Street and Mill Point Road, South Perth (opposite the Windsor Hotel and Australia Post).



NNPD13: No Names, No Pack Drill  is set in Sydney during World War II and features Joel Sammels, left, Sjaan Lucas, Melissa Merchant and Cameron Leese.

NNPD12: Kathy (Melissa Merchant, left) finds everything is turned upside down when Henry “Rebel” Potter (Cameron Leese) enters her life in No Names, No Pack Drill.

NNNPD8: Joycie (Sjaan Lucas, right) is smitten when US marines, such as Bernie (Joel Sammels), arrive in town during No Names, No Pack Drill.

NNNPD6: Mrs Palmer (Norma Davis, left) is a no-nonsense landlady in No Names, No Pack Drill, suspicious about what Kathy (Melissa Merchant) and the two-faced Tiger (Sam Barnett) get up to.

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Old Mill Theatre

South Perth's Old Mill Theatre is fortunate to be operating out of one of the most historic buildings in South Perth. It was opened in 1899 as a Mechanics' Institute Hall. The South Perth Council purchased the building in 1913 and renamed it the Mends Street Hall. The council still owns the building, and supports our use of it.

The building first became a home of theatre in 1948, when the South Perth Dramatic Society moved in. The name Old Mill Theatre was first used in 1958, and the company was incorporated in 1959. In 2009, the theatre celebrated its 60th anniversary.

A number of significant changes to the building have occurred over the past few years, with major extensions completed in 2002. An understage tunnel, which links two backstage dressing rooms and enables easier access from one side of the stage to the other, was completed in 2008. Bathroom facilities have also been installed backstage as part of this project, which was wholly self-funded.

The Old Mill Theatre is fortunate to have strong support from its local council, the City of South Perth. The city undertook major renovations to the exterior of the building in 2008 and the theatre is looking better now than ever before.

Kristen Twynam-Perkins
M: 0429 426 845


No Names, No Pack Drill, Old Mill Theatre, play, South Perth, World War II, Bob Herbert, wartime romance, soldiers, America, stage, performing arts



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