The Call.

Friday 29, 30 June and 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15 July

Friday and Saturday at 8 pm, Sundays at 2 pm

Inspired by the story of the Muslim convert and ill-starred adventurer David Hicks, Patricia Cornelius’s bleakly funny drama pits a young man’s search for meaning against the corrosive cynicism that regards faith in anything – religion, politics, one’s country, even love – as a sign of weakness or the first step on the road to another kick in the arse.

Gary is a wayward young bloke who slaughters chooks at an abattoir. His empathy for the doomed creatures marks him as a more sensitive soul than his co-workers – who bait him mercilessly – but when he’s out with best mates Aldo and Chunk, Gary is no better or worse than any of them.

He meets Denise, a young woman with big but vague dreams. For a moment, Gary thinks he has found what he has been looking for. It’s love, but is it enough?

The birth of a child comes as a grim reality check for Sarah, but Gary’s yearning to find meaning in life – to invest in something bigger than himself – becomes more acute. Degrading jobs and the death of a friend amplify his feelings of emptiness until, after watching a group of Muslim men praying at work, everything becomes clear.

The Call doesn’t seek to explain away Hicks or make a cautionary example of him. What it does do – very effectively – is demonstrate how our society fails to create a sense of belonging. If no routes for fulfilment are apparent, we shouldn’t be surprised at what directions people take on their own.


Echonetdaily 11th July 2018

last weekend of the call at the drill hall

The Call

The Drill Hall, Mulum | Fri 13 & Sat 14 July | 8 pm and 2 pm | $22-25

Australian playwright Patricia Cornelius’s The Call is an inspired choice for Mullumbimby’s Drill Hall Theatre Company. The play is based on the youth/early adulthood of David Hicks, the Australian who was captured in Afghanistan and later released from Guantánamo Bay. Mathew Godwin stars as Jerry who, with his two mates, struggles with alienation and poor employment opportunities by taking drugs and working dangerous jobs in abattoirs.

Jerry falls for forceful, angry Denise (played by Stevie Shumack) who desperately wants to travel overseas but ends up feeling trapped raising their children in an impoverished neighbourhood. Meanwhile, Jerry is distracted by their sexuality and thrill-seeking with his mates, the cynical Chunk (Dean Mitchell) and dreamy Aldo (Tom Davies).

The laugh-out-loud black humour picks up as anguish becomes the new norm. The Call for each of the three men differs, but for Jerry, an idealised version of Islam offers an escape. In all this Denise and the children are increasingly sidelined.

Patricia Cornelius uses humour to leaven her honest, harsh, no-holds-barred dialogue to make a truly exciting night at the Drill Hall. The highly professional young cast, many in debut performances are superbly directed by local legends Mike Russo and Georgia Martin. The ensemble builds a searing and insightful commentary about the meaning of life in our Lucky Country. 

Reviewed by Jim Beatson

The Drill Hall Theatre’s latest offering The Call is in its last week. This edgy piece of Australian theatre explores what life is like in small country towns in rural Australia. It’s been called: ‘funny’, ‘disturbing’, ‘moving’, ‘real’, ‘thought-provoking’, ‘relevant’, and the cast was lauded with: ‘terrific young lead actors’.

Gary, the hero of the play, like David Hicks, grew up in a village, as we all do. In his case, the village let him down. How many Garys and Davids might there be in your village? If you are concerned about your village you should see this play to see what effect indifference can have on young lives.

The Call runs this Friday and Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday at 2 pm. Tickets $22/25 at The Bookshop, Mullum or


Facebook review by Mark Swivel

Who remembers David Hicks? Amazing how we ‘move on’, isn’t it? The Call, finishing next weekend at the Drill Hall, tells you the back story of how Hicks ended up at Guantanamo. It’s really a portrait of working-class life and the search for purpose. Because that’s his back story. Well acted and directed, it’s an hour and a half well spent. An important Australian story by one of our best writers – Patricia Cornelius – and it tells you a lot that most Australians have never heard of her. Muscular, funny, tight writing on the kind of society we are, rather than as advertised. Well done Drill Hall Theatre Mullumbimby.