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Australia 1975
Directed by
Tom Jeffrey
85 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Removalists. The

David Williamson's breakthrough 1971 stage play is set in Sydney for this filmic adaptation, the first of many that the author has done of his own works, but stars regulars of Melbourne's La Mama theatre - Peter Cummins as Simmonds, John Hargreaves as Ross, Kate Fitzpatrick as Kate, Jacki Weaver as Fiona, Chris Haywood as The Removalist and, less well-known, Martin Harris as Kenny, the yobbo husband whose "love pats" on his wife (Weaver) instigate the dramatic action.

Although we lose some of the energy which comes from a stage production, particularly in the opening act in which we meet Simmonds and Ross, the low budget production has a makeshift quality which keeps the screen adaptation straying too far from its roots. In addition performances from the entire cast  are first class (well, maybe except for Weaver whose appeal is largely physical) whilst leading jazz combo of the day, Galapagos Duck, provides a tasty score.

Under Tom Jeffrey's direction the hard issues of male chauvinism, domestic violence and police corruption are played out with black humour, the distinctly '70s Antipodean substance of the play that appealed so much to theatre-goers who were at last seeing their own society writ large remaining but here appearing as an absurdist relative (even for the rough-and-ready times the role of the police in the  narrative seems highly improbable) of the Barry MacKenzie style of "ocker" comedies that were so popular back then. .




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