Timberlake Wertenbaker

Our Country's Good and The Recruiting Officer

Our Country's Good and The Recruiting Officer

Two BBC Radio full-cast dramatisations


A BBC Radio double bill of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s award-winning drama about a group of 18th-century Australian convicts and their attempts to stage a play, plus the Restoration comedy that the prisoners put on

Australia, 1789: A young lieutenant attempts to direct a cast of convicts in the first play ever to be staged in the country.

But one of his actors is about to be hanged...

Adapted from Thomas Keneally’s novel The Playmaker, Our Country’s Good tells the true story of the convicts and Marines sent to Australia as part of the first penal colony. An eloquent argument for the redemptive power of theatre, Wertenbaker’s classic drama celebrates the beauty of language – in the slang of the criminal classes and the poetry of the play – and at the same time examines how it is used as an instrument of power.

In The Recruiting Officer, we hear the play that the prisoners staged. George Farquhar’s popular Restoration comedy is set in Shrewsbury during the War of the Spanish Succession, where wives are recruited while soldiers are wooed. During a lull in the fighting, the womanising Captain Plume comes to town to seduce soldiers into the army, and – if possible – recruit Silvia into marriage.

These two captivating radio dramas star many of the same cast, including Paul Higgins, Ralph Ineson, Kate Fleetwood, Jonathan Forbes and Adjoa Andoh.

Our Country’s Good
Captain Arthur Philip – Nicholas Le Prevost
Major Robbie Ross – Stuart McQuarrie
Captain David Collins – Paul Moriarty
Captain Watkin Tench – Adam Billington
Captain Campbell – James Lailey
2nd Lieutenant Ralph Clark – Paul Higgins
Reverend Johnson – Simon Bubb
Midshipman Harry Brewer – Rikki Lawton
Mary Brenham – Francine Chamberlain
Robert Sideway – Adam James
John Wisehammer – Elliot Levey
Liz Morden – Kate Fleetwood
Dabby Bryant – Alex Tregear
John Arscott – Ralph Ineson
Ketch Freeman – Jonathan Forbes
Duckling Smith – Adjoa Andoh

Produced and directed by Sally Avens
Our Country’s Good © Timberlake Wertenbaker, 1988, 1989, 1999, 2015
Based on the novel The Playmaker by Thomas Keneally © 1978 The Serpentine Publishing Company Pty, published by Hodder & Stoughton and Sceptre
Timberlake Wertenbaker has asserted her right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work
All rights reserved

The Recruiting Officer
Captain Plume – Paul Higgins
Silvia – Lisa Dillon
Sergeant Kite – Ralph Ineson
Mr Worthy – Adam James
Melinda – Kate Fleetwood
Captain Brazen – Elliot Levey
Rose – Alex Tregear
Bullock – Simon Bubb
Justice Balance – Jonathan Forbes
Lucy – Adjoa Andoh
Appletree – James Lailey
Pearman – Adam Billington
Bridewell– Rikki Lawton
Justice Scale – Paul Moriaty
Justice Scruple – Gerard McDermott

Produced and directed by Jessica Dromgoole
The Recruiting Officer by George Farquhar originally published in 1706