The Ballad of Rosie Quinn REVIEW by Fiona Davey

The Ballad of Rosie Quinn tells the story of young convict Rosie, who struggles to make a life for herself in the Morton Bay convict colony.

On arrival at the venue, the Spring Hill Reservoir, guests are provided with a blindfold – yes, that’s what I said, a blindfold – and from the starting bell to the final one, the guests are unable to see the action before them.

The Ballad of Rosie Quinn relies on the audience’s ability to build an image in their mind based on the narration, soundscape, audio affects, senses of touch and smell and emotion.  And it works!

The performance takes place around the audience so characters rushing past, voices growing and fading, distance sounds, ballads and love songs all build a very individual picture in the mind of each audience member.  In some respects, it is reminiscent of the old radio plays, but being unable to see anything enhances the focus and imagination.

The story was emotive, based on various accounts of life for women brought to the Female Factory prison in Brisbane Town (the site is now the GPO in Queen Street) in the 1820’s. The plight of colonial woman has been a theme in the past week with several shows including this bleak period of our State’s history.

The Ballad of Rosie Quinn runs until Sunday 20 May, 7:00pm and is a theatrical experience you’re unlikely to find elsewhere.


Reviewed by Anywhere Theatre Festival reviewer Fiona G Davy.