Heavenly Bodies & Beautiful Souls
As always, sensitivity and intelligence leap from Swenson’s script; his exquisite writing is at the story’s soul… - Meredith Walker - Blue Curtains Brisbane
While all Sundial Plays are interconnected there are distinct narrative strands which follow particular families down through generations, with some episodes bringing together more than one familial line.
Tiptoe visited the McClusky, the Drummond, The Broadfoot and the Cutler families. In Pentimento’s 2015 revisiting of Heavenly Bodies & Beautiful Souls, later generations of the Cutler family met new audiences and left them deeply moved and breathless.
In many ways, 2015 saw the Sundial Plays working their powerful touch on audiences to the greatest effect yet. In Tiptoe, theatre-goers were able to witness the brutal conception of a child who would become one the Sundial’s best-loved characters, Cutty Cutler, then spend an hour in his company in a Singapore brothel in Heavenly Bodies and later learn of his death as a POW in the chatter between his great-grandsons during Beautiful Souls.
With Regan Lynch, Sam Ryan
‘Cutty’ is deeply in love. His pregnant wife Ruby is the only girl he’s ever held in his arms and in a perfect world, that’s the way Cutty would keep it for all time. But in Singapore, 1942, the world is far from perfect. Cutty, who has never yet fired a rifle, is granted a short furlough. With Singapore falling, he knows the time is given to taste a life expected to be cut short. In a makeshift bordello, he finds Laidie. As bombs ravage the world outside, these two frightened compatriots forge a profound bond of acceptance and compassion.
With Casey Woods, Peter Norton & Zachary Boulton
Bethany is a dare-devil. She has always looked for and found ways to subvert the middle-class sensibilities of her conservative up-bringing. She challenges herself to show courage and strength and never to shrink from a truth or dare.
There were two imperatives set down for David’s trip to Asia: to place a photograph on a war grave and to take good care of his intellectually disabled brother, Justin. He has achieved neither. Now, as the three fellow-travellers await execution in a Thai prison for drug-smuggling, their need to come to terms with one another and themselves, is a race against time.
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Heavenly Bodies and Beautiful Souls are gritty. They’re dark, funny, harrowing, gruelling and touching. They are two of the best plays I have ever seen from Australian theatre.
Nahima Kern – Absolute Theatre
(Heavenly Bodies) ...unfolds into a sweet, confronting and transformative encounter between two people searching for inner peace and acceptance in dark times.
Katy Cotter – XS Entertainment
I can think of no greater compliment to either of these plays than the power of emotion they stirred within me. There is a timelessness in their message, delivered in different eras as they are, but at their core connecting with the individual and their place in their tribe.
Stephen Morgan – SCENSTR
This double-header represents some of the best theatre happening in Brisbane and like all of Swenson's work, is challenging, rewarding, no-holds-barred first-class drama.
Finn Kirkman - The Music
Compelling in their mediation of loneliness and despair, and harrowing enough to bring a tear to even the most jaded of eyes, the works intermingle as equally captivating pieces of theatre in examination of the power of the human spirit.
Meredith Walker - Blue Curtains
Heavenly Bodies and Beautiful Souls are a tremendous double act. The cast pour themselves into these roles unreservedly, and their willingness to crack themselves open on stage gives the show its power.
Madeleine Dale - The Creative Issue
All five performers did a brilliant job at portraying the fragility of the human condition...Heavenly Bodies and Beautiful Souls have been created to entertain, shock and push boundaries
Toni Megan - Weekend Notes