Don’t have time to read the full review? Click here for a quick summary of the who, what, where and wine of this production.
The Ship That Never Was is the true story of a group of convicts who stole a ship and successfully escaped imprisonment on Tasmania’s notorious Sarah Island by sailing to Chile in 1834.
It’s a thrilling tale told with heart, hilarity and a very sweet backstory. Writer Richard Davey created the play in Perth roughly 37 years ago and toured around Australia until 1994, when it found its permanent home in Strahan (pronounced Strawn), Tasmania – the home of Sarah Island. Today, almost a decade after his death, Davey’s daughter Kiah continues his legacy.
There are 10 characters in the story but only two cast members, so they have to bridge the gap with – you guessed it – audience participation! And if you don’t get a role all to yourself, never fear, everyone is encouraged to get involved in cheering, booing and singing at various points of the show. It’s great fun for all ages, containing enough whimsy and silliness to amuse the kiddos and a captivating story for adults.
Staging is a good lark, with props flying around, costume changes, accents and the construction of an entire ship. This ship construction is slightly misleading though – they make building a ship in an hour look a lot easier than it is, I’m sure of it!
One improvement that the show could do with is an update of certain terms. I’m all for historical accuracy but there’s no need to reference Aboriginal people as ‘natives.’
Nonetheless, The Ship That Never Was is pantomime at its best, 75min of glorious chaos well worth experiencing.
On every day from September to April and occasionally through May-August, book tickets here.
Wine Pairing | Pinot Noir
For this quintessentially Tassie play I wanted to pick out a Tasmanian wine and this state’s Pinot Noir is first-class. The combination of fresh red fruits with light-medium body makes Pinot Noir an all-seasons wine, which suits a show on every night of the week for eight months of the year.
My Pick: Holm Oak Vineyard, 2020, Pinot Noir, Tamar Valley
This Pinot Noir is a spring day in a glass, with strawberry and red cherry flavours. The method of production is interesting as well, undergoing partial malolactic fermentation to ensure fine tannins and partially matured in French oak as well to bring out a hint of spice – reminiscent of the rum I’m sure the escapees on The Ship That Never Was enjoyed on their voyage across the seas.
|Aussie Season||Everyday Sept to May, Richard Davey Amphitheatre, Round Earth Company|
|Theatre Type & Genre||play, pantomime|
|See it if you like||audience participation, whimsy, Aussie stories|
|Other Info||The Ship That Never Was is the longest running play in Australia – 28 years and counting!|
|Wine Pairing||Pinot Noir|
|Criteria for Wine Pairing||Tasmanian wine, light-medium body|