It’s located on the edge of the desert and over 1000 kms from the sea, yet the tiny town of Darrenbungle has triumphantly staged a spectacular musical theatre while entirely on the drug ice. This remote NSW town has long been famous for its love of musical theatre and its heavy addiction to the deadly drug ice.
“We thought, why not combine the two?” said mayor Steve Donnelly, while constantly picking invisible insects off his arms.
So it was that the town staged Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic “Pirates Of Penzance – On Ice“. Darrenbungle’s version ran over two nights and might have gone for longer except the theatre was destroyed by the rampaging cast.
The musical was carefully adapted so it would work for a small country town off its collective head on crystal meths. This meant pulling most of the complicated musical numbers and replacing them with screaming and high pitched gibberish.
Act 2 consisted entirely of the cast wandering around the stage stealing props and begging money from the audience.
“We didn’t aim for Act 2 to be so audacious” admitted Carla Phillips, the musical director. “But when those guys started ripping off their costumes and howling and vomiting, I thought, stuff The Modern Major General’s Song, let’s just go with this screaming shit.”
To pull off such an ambitious venture Donnelly and his office had to order in two truckloads of crystal meths and put some serious calls in to “Max”, the local dealer.
“Max was brilliant!” says Donnelley “He instantly recognised the cultural importance. He said ‘matey, if this town needs ice to make the show happen, I’m your guy.’ He generously accepted some down payments and we also gave him the post office as we’re a bit short on cash”
The reviews of the show were unanimously great. The Darrenbungle Grazier especially praising the program: “The ads for Triple Paddock Spray in the program are a powerful reminder of why all paddocks should be triply sprayed, regardless of what stock you’ve got there.”
“It’s a great triumphant positive story for the country” says Donnelly, huddled in the gutter, rocking back and forth and his limbs quivering as he entered a private, howling world of pain, “we’re the little town that could.”
And the sky’s the limit for the small town. They’re already planning next year’s program: “Frozen: Even More Ice” and “Fiddler On The Roofies“. We already know they’ll be spectacular!