Review-: Bogga

'Bogga' captures the daily life of real people, and all the riots, corruption, drug and sex scandals, murders and suicides that were the backlash of unjust institutions..

Told in the words of former officers and inmates of Boggo Road Gaol without any additions or adaptations, with the oral histories collected by Brisbane historian Chris Dawson.  'Bogga' captures the daily life of real people, and all the riots, corruption, drug and sex scandals, murders and suicides that were the backlash of unjust institutions.

In the 1970s and 1980s Brisbane was renowned for being home to two of Australia’s most notorious institutions, Boggo Road Gaol and the Bjelke-Petersen government.

In a theatre piece by Rob Pensalfini, performed by the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble and directed by Rebecca Murphy verbatim oral histories are utilised to explore the decline and fall of these infamous institutions.

Told in the words of former officers and inmates of Boggo Road Gaol without any additions or adaptations, with the oral histories collected by Brisbane historian Chris Dawson.  'Bogga' captures the daily life of real people, and all the riots, corruption, drug and sex scandals, murders and suicides that were the backlash of unjust institutions.

The piece was made a reality through a history grant from the Brisbane City Council, and from the very beginning it grabs the attention of the audience as the theatre rumbles. The first scene (one of my favourites), opens with chaos and confusion, and images of archival 4ZZZ Community Radio Station bulletins of the 1983 Boggo Road Gaol riot are appearing in the hands of anxious looking characters, this is a succinct way to make the time period and event clear. From the riot, the story delves behind the headlines of the 70s and 80s and into the private lives of those who lived or worked at Bogga.

The ensemble cast consisting of James Elliott, Ellen Hardisty, Paige Poulier, Johancee Theron and Chris Vaag, were a talented, cohesive cast that really seemed immersed in each of their roles. For an Ensemble well versed in the iambic verses of Shakespeare, it has found its own rhythm in the language of Bogga Road Gaol, a thick aussie accent with plenty of swearing.

It is obvious that years of work would have been put in curating the real life contributions, which is why Bogga is an incredible showcasing of verbatim theatre. If you are a local and want to brush up on your Brissie history this one is for you! 

By Brianna Denmeade 

Bogga

8-18th November

Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio- University of Queensland