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.
Ensemble Theatre’s A Broadcast Coup delves into the #metoo movement in Australian media in a powerful evisceration of the institutions and powerful individuals who have and still allow workplace misconduct to proliferate.
Jez Connell is an investigative journalist out to rid the media of its behind-doors bad behaviour, and she’s got Michael King, veteran radio presenter and her old boss, in her sights. King’s not worried – he has a loyal audience and great ratings, despite struggling to adapt with the times. But as King’s long-suffering but loyal producer Louise and young, confident, junior producer Noa begin to question his place on the airwaves, he will soon find whether he is as invincible as he thinks he is.
This story is the type of comedy that has you wincing while you laugh. Writer Melanie Tait’s no-pulled-punches dialogue and Janine Watson’s bold direction combine to create a visceral response from the audience one rarely sees.
Confident and abrasive Michael King, played by Tony Cogin, bears a strikingly and frankly uncomfortably close resemblance to the Alan Joneses of shock jock radio. Young radio producer Noa is strong willed and proudly progressive, Mike’s intellectual equal but naïve to the dynamics of power between them. Alex King beautifully portrays the excitement and vulnerability young women can experience in their first media jobs.
Podcaster Jez’s character, played by Amber McMahon (Photograph 51), contrasts with Mike and Noa’s outspoken personalities with her cool self-assuredness and grim determination that compels you to root for her to succeed.
So often stories like this are told in black and white, with clear villains and heros. Particularly interesting in A Broadcast Coup is the portrayal of the different forms of complicity in bad behaviour. Tait is empathetic without being overly forgiving. Louise, played by Sharon Millerchip, and executive manager Troy, played by Ben Gerrard, demonstrates how easy it is to sin by silence, or ignore uncomfortable truths about those closest to you.
Ensemble Theatre’s sets are some of my favourite in Sydney, and this one is no exception. The stage is minimalist in design, a couple of well-placed props such as microphones that rise and fall from the ceiling as needed, are all that is needed to have a big impact. Warm lighting and music reminiscent of shows like ABC’s Four Corners complete the design.
A fantastic start to Ensemble Theatre’s 2023 Season. Purchase your tickets to A Broadcast Coup here.
Sangiovese | Wine Pairing
Between you and me I wanted to pair A Broadcast Coup with Chianti, a varietal known for its strong oak and earthy characteristics that boasts great flavour intensity while remaining medium bodied. But Chianti is only permitted to be made in a specific part of Italy, so I’ve picked the closest thing to it – Sangiovese!
My Pick: Fowles Wine Farm to Table Sangiovese, Strathbogie Ranges, VIC
Dry and medium bodied with light tannins, Sangiovese by Fowles Wine is a fantastic drop – and it costs less than $20! Enjoy prominent notes of cherry, plum, oak and white pepper that are complemented by a slight burn from the high alcohol content. It’s exactly the drink I can imagine Jes or Noa choosing after a long day.
A Broadcast Coup, Ensemble Theatre Co | Tasting Notes
|Aussie Season||28 Jan to 4 March 2023, Ensemble Theatre, Sydney NSW|
|Theatre Type & Genre||Play, Comedy|
|See it if you like||Dark humour, satire|
|Other Info||Supported by Sydney Festival|
|Criteria for Wine Pairing||Punchy, earthy flavours|