Westward Ho! is part drama, part vaudeville, part Orpheus in the Underworld. This play for voices begins with a fifty-something ex-greyhound trainer, George Lake, recovering in hospital from an un-named condition. A twelve-year-old boy, Carl Levin, arrives and tells George to get dressed, as a ‘man’ has asked to see him. After some argument, George agrees to go. The pair follows a map the man has given the boy. They walk, dance and sing their way through Adelaide, passing the homes, workplaces, pubs and alleyways George has spent his life around.
Only at the end of the pair’s journey do we find out who the ‘man’ is, what he wants from George, and why the boy was sent to fetch him.
The play uses stories, stray characters, and scraps of life to build up a picture of Adelaide. Not the politics, the history, the Establishment, but the lies, secrets, and myths.
Westward Ho! owes its conception and execution to comedians like Roy Rene, singers like George Formby, and poets of place like Dylan Thomas and James Joyce. The play is a flummery of lost loves, disappointments and small salvations. At its core is the relationship between a man who’s never fully valued those around him, and a boy who teaches him, before it’s too late, what he’s been missing.
- Radio play/play for voices
- 70 minutes
- 5 female, 8 male
- There is a lot of doubling, and many roles could be either sex (eg radio voice, spruiker). The lead roles are George (40 +) and Carl (12). But since this is for radio, or presented live as an ensemble, the casting choices are fairly flexible.
- 12 to 16, 16 to 18, 18+
- Australian Script Centre