3 Nov — 20 Dec 2014

Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House


'Love is what interests me. And love is indivisible from murder.'

Sydney Theatre Company
by special arrangement with Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles, presents the Co-World Premiere of
By Joanna Murray-Smith

The sharper the wits, the higher the stakes

Somewhere in the Swiss alps, a grande dame of best-selling crime literature lives with an impressive collection of books, and a somewhat sinister collection of guns and knives. She finds solace in her seclusion, her cats and cigarettes. But when a mysterious international visitor barges in to her home unannounced, will her love of fictional murders become a dangerous reality?

Switzerland is an original thriller inspired by renowned master crime novelist Patricia Highsmith by Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith (Fury, 2013).

Highsmith’s books are the source of many cinematic adaptations - The Two Faces of January, The Talented Mr Ripley, Strangers on a Train - but in Switzerland the tables are turned and it is Patricia Highsmith herself who is the central character.

Resident Director Sarah Goodes (The Effect) guides a superbly talented cast, Sarah Peirse (Fury) and Eamon Farren (Mojo), in a production that will have you on the edge of your seat.

True to its genre, Switzerland kicks off with a knock at the door and spirals into a calculated contest of wits and words. In a Highsmith world, villains enjoy happy endings as often as their victims… who will make it out of Switzerland alive?

The best-selling author behind the character

Patricia Highsmith was born in Texas in 1921, the only child of her feuding artist parents. She grew up to have a macabre sense of humour, a fascination with psychological disorders and plethora of controversial opinions. Her friends described her as stingy, neurotic and cantankerous.

Her first novel, Strangers on a Train, was turned into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock. Her second, The Price of Salt, was a lesbian romance that defied 1950s conventions and sold almost a million copies.

Highsmith created some of the greatest suspense novels in modern literature, writing dozens of works that would become notorious for their startling violence and unstable, morally ambiguous characters. She became best known for the Ripley series and its eponymous criminal hero; a seductive, amoral libertine who gets away with murder.

Patricia Highsmith died in Switzerland in 1995. She was alone.

Duration: 1 hour 35 mins (no interval)
Warning: strong language

Production Patrons: Kim Williams AM and Catherine Dovey


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