What would have happened if Councillor Lafferty had been successful, and the center of Hamilton had been moved to Frankton in the 1930s? What if Garden Place hill had not been removed by an ambitious borough engineer? How objective and unbiased can one truly be when an action causes a reaction? Will taking on debt cause failure at the polling booth in a couple of years? They say history never repeats… but I beg to differ. Especially in politics, and especially in a city which generations later is still trying to decide what to do with Garden Place.
“One hill of a fight” is shaking local history to life in a fast paced play which tells the story of how Garden Place went from a rambling hill with ramshackle houses to the current “wasteland” it is… Progress? That’s for the audience to decide.
But, something that over-rides the focus on Garden Place are the stories of how politics and personalities shape the city we call home. The play starts off with the progressive idea of removing Garden Place hill to create a more usable (and profitable) space so the central city could develop northwards. Things don’t seem to have changed much since the 1930s because it’s still the politicians and council coming up with plans – “consulting” with the public and trying to forge their own legacies to be remembered by.
Writer and director Michael Switzer does an excellent job of telling the story without losing any of the audience, as can happen when you are giving a historical account of politics. Well executed, with a great cast from the Hamilton performing arts company the play does well to set the play in it’s context, complimented by stories of Worley’s contribution in Ypres.
Who would the play most appeal to? Anyone who likes to see and hear our local stories be bought to life. Personally, I enjoyed the story of Betty Worley (nee Jolly) being bought to life by Charlotte Issac. There’s no doubting women have contributed significantly to our stories, but record keeping of such is sometimes hard to find.
Perhaps, just as exciting is for this play being the first in the newly refurbished and strengthened Meteor Theatre. The One Victoria Trust have done a stellar job of getting the work done, (on time) so that we can continue to have stories bought to life. Well done to all involved. The play runs until May 27th. I vote you check it out.