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The Australian

August 16, 2018

“The prison for boys at Point Puer, near Port Arthur, was the first of its kind in the British
Empire. Thousands of boys, some as young as nine, were separated from adult male
transportees in the 1830s and taught religion and trades in the hope they could be turned
into worthy citizens of the new colony. Had the guards not been violent and illiterate crims in
their own right, it just might have worked.
Alaine Beek’s play about a tight group of boys and a guard (who is a friend of the lead boys’
father and is secretly charged with looking after the lad) manages to be historically
responsible, educative, psychologically credible and entertaining to boot.
Point of No Return is a naturalistic piece, an exceptionally well-made play, and Beek directs
it like a screenplay. Will McDonald and Alex Roe are compelling and charismatic as the
pack leader and his second-in-command, but all the actors are set challenges, none more
stratospheric than the guard’s scene with his mongrel dog. Phil Cameron-Smith’s
performance has an eye-of-the-hurricane focus.”

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