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Congratulations to the New Theatre for this excellent production of INK. Don’t miss it.  This Australian premier has suspense, didactic argument, surprise and even humour. The play charts Rupert Murdoch’s 1969 dealings with Larry Lamb, an editor on Fleet Street, the physical and spiritual heart of the UK press at the time.

Recently arrived from Australia, Murdoch convinces Lamb to join his new purchase, The Sun, and turn it into a tabloid for the masses. Rupert believes Lamb can not only save The Sun but outsell the best-selling paper, The Mirror. Rupert knows Lamb will make the Faustian deal. Son of a Yorkshire blacksmith, Lamb will do anything to become a press titan and trample the establishment press. He achieves his goal by hiring new staff, presenting stories of real people and creating the infamous ‘page 3’, the photo of a nude woman.

The play asks who should be the arbiter of taste? Are the stories of the ordinary people as important as those of the powerful? Who has the right to decide what should be printed in a newspaper? The answer to Lamb is clear – he has the right and the power to democratise the press.  That is, until the wife of a staff member is kidnapped and ransomed. Against police advice, The Sun publishes the police efforts to hunt down the criminals, resulting in the wife being murdered. This is the final Faustian bargain, yet remorse is short lived when, because of its coverage of the kidnapping, The Sun outsells The Mirror and becomes the largest selling paper in the world.

INK is by James Graham, a renowned British writer.  It was first performed in London in 2017 to acclaim and then moved to New York in 2019. 

This New Theatre production has a cast of seventeen, 150 costumes and 200 video and light queues  – all coordinated and directed by the amazing Louise Fischer and her team. Costumes are designed by Aibhlinn Stokes and Burley Stokes.  Set is design by Tom Bannerman.

Adrian Adam plays Rupert superbly. Nick Curnow plays Larry Lamb, Simon Bolton is Sir Hugh Cudlipp, Emily Weare plays the women’s editor – all excellent. Others in the cast are Jack Elliot Mitchell, Les Asmussen, William Baltyn, Sophie Highmore, Simon Bolton, Sophie Highmore, Brycen Horne, Gerry Mullaly, Jack Elliott Mitchell, Emmanuel Nicolaou, Charlotte Sherston, Mariah Stock, Daniel Tompson, Chad Traupmann, Jane Diana and Parker Texilake. Quite a team.

The end of INK is Murdoch leaving England, heading for America to dominate the press and the TV commentariat there. The Murdoch’s empire ushered in the Trump presidency. Then on January 6, Fox commentators lauded the insurrection describing it as “peaceful, energetic and positive”.  As Trump supporters breached the capital building, one Fox host said, “This is a huge victory for these protesters. They have disrupted the system in an enormous way!” It wasn’t until 2022 that the Fox-Trump alliance waned. What will Lachlan do now?  Take the Faustian bargain?

INK is on at the New Theatre in Newtown until June 29 2o24

The theatre’s alert: Patrons please note: this production features adult themes, coarse language, strobe lighting, smoking on stage and nude imagery.

Production photography by Chris Lundie

Full $37
Concessions, Groups (6+) $32
New Theatre Members $25
Thrifty Thursdays $25


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