Review: The Young Tycoons

Review: The Young Tycoons

LAST UPDATED // Friday, 30 May 2014 17:25 Written by // Veronica Hannon

C J Johnson’s mid-noughties play about two rival media barons and their heirs apparent doesn’t take itself too seriously.

The protagonists are thinly disguised stand-ins for Rupert and Kerry and Lachlan and Jamie. I think we’re meant to walk out of the theatre exchanging smirks and whispering to one other, “What a bunch of wankers”. 

I’m inclined to believe they are little more dangerous than that, but there seems to be reluctance here for the piece to come off as too scathing lest it dampen an enjoyable night out. As a result, it’s not much more than a harmless diversion.

We are back in the early years of the new millennium. On Katja Handt’s blonde wood wave set, the fathers and sons make their entrances and exits, as various underlings, minor model girlfriends and right-hand man types, gather in the shade of the “great” men. The brisk, short scenes, more revue style sketches, offer no complex picture of these men, instead, we are served up what most of us already know, somewhat ironically, from tabloidism and these first families are certainly grist for the mill.

Our aging patriarchs, Ted Vogler and Liam Warburton are played with admirable authority by Laurence Coy and John Turnbull. Their successors are a charming Edmund Lembke-Hogan, as the not too bright Kim Vogler, with Andrew Sutcliffe cutting a suave figure as the Harvard-educated Trevor Warburton.

Director Michael Pigott surely knows it’s harder to hit a moving target, so he maintains a fast pace throughout. He has a great cast at his disposal still it didn’t distract me from wondering why this piece, so of its time, has been given another remount. This work has already had two previous outings under the Darlo banner, both very successful, but despite some topical updates I couldn’t help thinking television does this stuff so much better.  I probably would have enjoyed it more if the satire was sharper and the comedy, well, funnier. 

I wasn’t in on opening night. I saw the show a week later and the actors were playing to a house half full but without exception gave all-stops-out-performances. They deserve better material.

[Image] 'The Young Tycoons doesn't take itself too seriously.

The Young Tycoons plays at Eternity Playhouse until 15 June.
Bookings: 02 8356 9987 or


Veronica Hannon

Veronica Hannon

Veronica Hannon is a Sydney writer and SX's resident theatre and arts reviewer.

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