Former resident in party sequel

Back to basics: Ted Bull, left, as Mal and former Collie resident Tom Rees as Don in Don Parties On.
Back to basics: Ted Bull, left, as Mal and former Collie resident Tom Rees as Don in Don Parties On.

FORMER Collie resident Tom Rees will take to the stage at Melville Theatre in the WA premiere of Don Parties On, the sequel to David Willamson's classic Don's Party.

Both stage dramas use federal elections as a backdrop: the original was set as the 1969 Gough Whitlam-John Gorton challenge unfolded while the sequel is set during the 2010 election night of the Julia Gillard-Tony Abbott campaigns.

In Don Parties On Don and Kath Henderson host another election night party and while some friends have remained throughout the intervening years, others have become estranged.

Over the decades, governments have come and gone but the group of baby boomers still hasn't learnt politics and strong personalities should never be mixed with alcohol.

Rees plays the title role of Don, a man who is trying to resurrect the past with an election party.

"Don is feeling nostalgic following the death of his close friend Mack and is trying to recapture some of the enthusiasm and exuberance of youth," he said.

"By that, he means 'the political and often radical ideals of a time when we still really cared who won and thought a change of government could change the nation'.

"The main challenge is developing the character of Don from the more youthful version in the original play by portraying the journey that has brought him from the first election party of 1969 to the one in 2010."

Another challenge is showing how his attitudes and values have changed as he has become increasing disillusioned with Australia's political climate.

"I was attracted to Don Parties On through familiarity with the original play and the works of David Williamson in general," Rees said.

"I feel it will resonate with an older audience who will not only remember Don's Party but also empathise with the sense of nostalgia."

Don Parties On plays at 8pm, February 21, 22, 27, 28, March 1, 6, 7 and 8 with a 2pm matinee March 2.

Tickets are $20, $15 concession, book on 9330 4565 or at meltheco.org.au/Bookings.html.

The play features some coarse language.

Melville Theatre is on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra.

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