Friday, April 3rd, 2009
AFTER scoring a host of awards in 2008, The Return from KADS Theatre is on track for the inaugural MPAC One-Act Play Festival at the Fishtrap Theatre on April 4.

Written by Reg Cribb and directed by Danni Ashton, The Return is peppered with many edgy and claustrophobic moments. It was adapted for the big screen as Last Train to Freo in 2006.

Last year, it was named Best Overall Production at DramaFest, the annual state drama festival, and scored Phil Barnett the Best Male Actor Award. The Return also picked up three awards at the South West Drama Festival, including best male supporting actor for Chris Thomas, best character performance for Murray Jackson and outstanding performance in a drama for Barnett.

Ashton said she chose to direct The Return – a tense psychological drama as two thugs confront and harass other passengers on a train to Fremantle – because of its gripping, taut realism and the fact it continually threw surprises at the audience.

“The play is an extremely powerful piece with characters that people can identify with,” she said. “I think it’s fair to say people may have spotted some of them on the train before.

“There was an intensity we found in the exploration of these characters, challenging perceptions and beliefs, which helped build towards a volatile ending.

“I saw the film and was drawn into the emotional journey each character goes through and thought it could easily be adapted to the stage, then discovered it was actually a play first.”

But the stage production did present some challenges for Ashton, including designing a set for a train interior that needed to be put together in 10 minutes.

“With one-act plays, you need to be able to set and strike the stage quickly, to allow for other plays on the same night,” she said.

“Plays could only be a maximum of 45 minutes at both festivals so we had to be quite ruthless in cutting the script back.

“It was a difficult task because it’s a well-written play and every moment is gold but the abridged version ultimately gives The Return even more impact.”

The Return plays at 2pm, Saturday, April 4, at Mandurah Performing Art Centre’s Fishtrap Theatre in Western Australia, followed by Stirling Players’ A Candle On The Table. Tickets are $15 for the session – book on 9550 3900.

Another KADS Theatre production, Free Coffee for the Driver, is on at 7.55pm. More details on the MPAC One-Act Play Festival are available at

  • For more details about The Return, contact director Danni Ashton on 0400 438 695 or e-mail [email protected] (all other enquiries about the festival should be directed to the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre).

thereturn1.jpg: An award-winning production of The Return, starring Phil Barnett, Krysia Wiechecki, Chris Thomas, Jacqui Warner and Murray Jackson, is coming to Mandurah’s Fishtrap Theatre.

thereturn2.jpg: An award-winning production of The Return, starring Phil Barnett, Murray Jackson, Jacqui Warner, Chris Thomas and Krysia Wiechecki, will be at Mandurah’s Fishtrap Theatre on April 4.

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