What’s in Store for “Grey Nomad” is All Good…

by Ernest Kearney — The Australians are back.

Comprised of talented folks from the land down under, The Australian Theatre Company has mounted three prior productions to introduce Australian playwrights to America and display some of the expatriate talent lingering about casting offices here.


Grey Nomad features an aspect of Australian life that is familiar to any American with retired parents.

Here in America we call them “senior gypsies”; those retirees in their “golden years” who divest themselves of worldly possessions, invest in a sturdy R.V. and drive off into the sunset to explore the lands beyond the hills.


Grey Nomad by Dan Lee is the tale of Helen (Ros Gentle) and her husband Jim (David Ross Paterson) who have set off in their caravan to explore the Never Never (Outback) of Oz (Australia).


Both the structure and the dynamics are not of an overtaxing nature.

Helen and Jim are settled in their ways and confident of what the future holds for them.

Then they encounter a pair of fellow grey nomads; the free spirited, hedonistic Tim (Paul Tassone) and his talkative yank wife Val (Wendy Hammers), who love to party and espouse the benefits of nudism.

Australian Theatre Co-Grey Nomads 5

Ros Gentle, Paul Tassone (Photo by Adrian Wlodarczyk – Courtesy of Austrailian Theatre Co.)

For a play with such an unsurprising set-up, there are still some revelations in store for the audience.


It is surprising what gentleness is present in Lee’s writing, and what compassion he has for his characters.

It is evident in the writing that Lee cares for this quartet around which he’s constructed his piece and because he cares the audience cannot help but care as well.


Lee is helped in this by a top-notch cast all of whom are a joy to watch.

Paterson as the stuffy Jim, has perhaps the best moments in the play, but it is his journey we are taken on.  Tassone and Hammers are excellent as the embodiment of what life has to bring, and Gentle is superb in reminding us what shouldn’t be lost in life.

Grey Nomad-Austrailian Theatre Company

David Ross Paterson and Wendy Hammers (Photo by Adrian Wlodarczyk – Courtesy of Austrailian Theatre Co.)

In the end, Lee and director Iain Sinclair deliver a rowdy, riotously funny evening in the theatre.

An evening full of simple humanity and simple humor which will gobsmack you with a simple fairdinkum about life, if you play by all the rules, you’ll miss all the fun.

♦    ♦    ♦

World premiere of Grey Nomad

Written by Dan Lee
Directed by Iain Sinclair,

on at

The Australian Theatre Company

A visiting production at the

Skylight Theatre

1816 1/2 N Vermont Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90027

Continuing Performances Thru – Oct. 8:

Mondays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 25; Oct. 2
Fridays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 22, Sept. 29, Oct. 6
Saturdays at 5 p.m.: Sept. 23*, Sept. 30, Oct. 7
Saturdays at 8:30 p.m.: Sept. 23, Sept. 30, Oct. 7
Sundays at 6 p.m.: Sept. 24, Oct. 1, Oct. 8

* American Sign Language-interpreted performances on Saturday, Sept. 23.

For Tickets and Information:
866-811-4111 or www.australiantheatrecompany.org

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Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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