Our Country's Good

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SP20111217

by Timberlake Wertenbaker

Australia 1789: A young lieutenant attempts to direct a cast of convicts

in 'The Recruiting Officer', the first play ever to be staged in the country.

But one of his cast may be about to be hanged.

The convicts' production of The Recruiting Officer can be heard

on Drama on 3 on Sunday evening..

Captain Arthur Philip - Nicholas Le Prevost

Major Robbie Ross - Stuart McQuarrie

Captain David Collins - Paul Moriarty

Captain Watkin Tench - Adam Billington

Captain Campbell - James Lailey

2nd Lieutenant Ralph Clark - Paul Higgins

Reverend Johnson - Simon Bubb

Midshipman Harry Brewer - Rikki Lawton

Mary Brenham - Francine Chamberlain

Robert Sideway - Adam James

John Wisehammer - Elliot Levey

Liz Morden - Kate Fleetwood

Dabby Bryant - Alex Tregear

John Arscott - Ralph Ineson

Ketch Freeman - Jonathan Forbes

Duckling Smith - Adjoa Andoh

Director - Sally Avens

Timberlake Wertenbaker's stage play was adapted from Thomas Keneally's novel, 'The Playmaker'.

It tells the true story of Lieutenant Ralph Clark's attempts to put on a production of George Farquhar's 'The Recruiting Officer' using a cast of convicts.

It met with high praise when it was first staged at The Royal Court and the play argues eloquently for the redemptive power of theatre.

Many of the arguments are still current today as we debate how best to rehabilitate prisoners.

At the heart of the play is its language; Wertenbaker celebrates the beauty of language in the slang of the criminal classes and the poetry of the play but she also looks at how language is used as an instrument of power.

Over one weekend Radio 4 and Radio 3 present new productions of 'Our Country's Good' and 'The Recruiting Officer' using the same cast.

On Saturday on Radio 4 we hear 'Our Country's Good' and watch a group of convicts' lives change as they rehearse 'The Recruiting Officer' and on Sunday on Radio 3 we hear the convicts' production of 'The Recruiting Officer'.

Timberlake Wertenbaker's play about the convicts and Marines sent to Australia in 1787.