The world premiere of Hydra flooded Queensland Theatre‘s Bille Brown Theatre on Wednesday 14 March in a wave of emotion.

It was a truly moving experience. Tears were shed, breath stopped short and gasps were exhaled time and time again. Queensland Theatre opened the world premiere season to a full house, who stood to acknowledge writer Sue Smith’s story. Directed by Sam Strong, the outstanding cast was superb – led by Logie-Award-nominated Anna McGahan (House Husbands, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Underbelly) and Bryan Probets (Twelfth Night, The 39 Steps) as lead characters Clift and Johnston, along with Tiffany Lyndall-Knight (19 Weeks, Red Dog, Battlestar Galactica), Nathan O’Keefe (Betrayal, Macbeth, Sense and Sensibility), Hugh Parker (The 39 Steps, Noises Off) and Ray Chong Nee (Noises Off). g.

Set from the mid 1940s through to the 1960s, Hydra is the tragic true love story between two of Australia’s most gifted writers, Charmian Clift and her husband George Johnston (author of the Miles Franklin Award-winning novel, My Brother Jack). The couple left Australia to live a bohemian lifestyle on the idyllic Greek island of Hydra. Theirs was a dream of creative freedom; of sea and sun and olives and wine in the afternoons, drenched in sex, fine conversation and booze. Over time, this dream unravelled, culminating in the ultimate tragedy.

Buoyant humour lifts the audiences in swells, proving an escape from the underlying depression that develops throughout the dialogue. The audience are plunged into the deep abyss the star-crossed lovers create, the story telling of a Romeo and Juliet-esque affair. Expect to lose your heart strings as they are tugged out of your chest, and at the close of the production, feel a rush to revisit George Johnston’s published works, and search hungrily for Charmain’s words.

Hydra will play at Bille Brown Theatre until Saturday 6 April.

Readers also enjoyed seeing the Socials from opening night.