Battle of Waterloo is set in an inner-city public housing estate where the air is punctuated by the sounds of lorikeets, police sirens and conversations from surrounding flats in the James Cook building. In the flat at the centre of the story are sisters Cassie and Sissy who live with their Aunt Mavis. When Cassie’s boyfriend Ray arrives after three years in prison, it seems he might derail her aspirations to become a fashion designer and make a different life for herself. Ray proves to be unreliable, and the audience is ready to dismiss him just as others have done, but the story and the characters shift into a more complex world, and a rich, tender, human drama develops. A remarkable ensemble cast is anchored by Shari Sebbens (The Sapphires) and Luke Carroll (Redfern Now). It is refreshing to witness a story about people’s loves and hopes within an indigenous community in which the focus is on the drama of their lives together rather than issues and race relations.
This is an extraordinary debut by young indigenous playwright Kylie Coolwell who brings to the stage a world she knows first hand. This is unlike stories you will see elsewhere.
Sydney Theatre Company is firmly anchored in Millers Point in the middle of another public housing community under extreme stress. It is great to see the Sydney Theatre Company producing an outstanding new story that resonates so strongly with its immediate neighbours.