Past Production

The Wishing Well (2008)

“A magical piece of theatre” ABC Brisbane

The Wishing Well epitomised the Matrix ethos – that ensemble telling of epic tales makes for theatre in its most exciting form. A cast of eight told the story of Edith Middleton, who flees poverty stricken London only to find herself struggling to survive in a Sydney cowed by the Depression. Her dreams of independence are subverted by the twists and turns of fate, including the birth of an illegitimate son, whose hole in the heart condition makes him an unreliable anchor in her life. Indomitable, Edith carves out a living, and supplies the boy with books she hates – substitutes for the childhood he physically cannot enjoy – always checking the last pages for suitable endings whilst unable to pre-determine her own. His death at 16, which she’d been expecting since his birth, sends Edith in search of ways to escape his memory: she helps establish Melbourne’s first Russian restaurant, tolerates an unsatisfactory love affair with its charismatic owner Victor Kiss, and drinks to delirium the prohibited liquor they serve. Perversely, all these distractions serve only to evoke the boy’s memory almost as a felt, corporeal presence. In his short life, he’d known love, insisted on it, flaunted it to his closed-hearted mother so that she’d never forget. Prised out of the burning restaurant, The Wishing Well, by her loyal friend Guido, Edith is forced to read her son’s long lost diary, with its booby-trapped last page, in which she finds the key to love.  Assisted by project funding from the Australia Council, and presented by La Boite Theatre, Matrix performed The Wishing Well in The Roundhouse Theatre, which provided a large arena for this big story, receiving critical plaudits, and standing ovations for an outstanding cast.



The Wishing Well, by Helen Howard and Michael Futcher. Matrix Theatre, Presented by La Boite, at the Roundhouse Theatre, La Boite. 3rd-20th September, 2008. Assisted by project funding, Australia Council of the Arts.

Andrew Buchanan: Gerald, Jack, Dr Oakley, Henry, Waiter, Greg, Mr Stewart, Lazlo
Leon Cain: Tim/Boy
Helen Cassidy: Edith
Dan Crestani: Guido, Vendor, Bobby
Eugene Gilfedder: Victor, YWCA, Bailiff, Neville
Sally McKenzie: Mamma, Annabelle, Mum, Mary
Naomi Price: Sarah, Bella, Jilly, Lily, Miss Dauth, Lilo
Bryan Probets: Youri, Dad, Mr Howell, Bailiff’s Assistant, Sustenance Officer, Bob

WRITERS: Helen Howard and Michael Futcher

DIRECTOR: Michael Futcher

CO-DIRECTOR: Helen Howard

DRAMATURG: Janis Balodis

DESIGNER: Josh McIntosh


COMPOSER: Phil Slade

ASSISTANT DIRECTORS: Lucas Stibbard, Michelle Miall


ASM: Emily Bernoth

ASM SECONDMENT: Rebecca Swadling

PHOTOGRAPHY: Justine Walpole


 Every so-often I am privileged to witness a theatrical piece in which all the elements come together. Such was my experience at the opening of “The Wishing Well”. You have to see it…An extraordinary evening in which beautiful writing, skilful and sensitive acting and painstaking direction came together to create a magical piece of theatre…bravo! Five stars.”
– ABC Brisbane

 Dream team ensemble is theatre at its best…the production provides plenty of breathtaking theatrical  effects…the cast mimes, provides sound effects, sings evocative refrains and slips seamlessly in and out of multiple cameo roles…Designer Josh McIntosh has created the perfect visual metaphor for the story: a painted cross-section of a nautilus shell covers the floor and winds its way up a series of steps that surround a wishing well full of water. David Walters’ lighting supports the dream-like narrative as it spirals backwards and forwards through time…Michael Futcher’s finely-tuned direction, the power of the work itself, its lyrical poetics, complex metaphors and virtuoso performances from the actors, brought the audience to a standing ovation.”
– The Courier Mail

 Astonishing performances and direction…Eugene Gilfedder in particular was mesmerizing…Josh McIntosh has made the best use of the La Boite space I’ve seen”  
– The Brisbane News

 Howard and Futcher direct the cast with stylized, ensemble-driven techniques reminiscent of Steven Berkoff, to embody the characters, objects, sights, sounds and environments of Edith’s story…the strength of Howard and Futcher’s story, combined with their stylistic choices, makes “The Wishing Well” an engaging work and a great example of the theatrical and emotional journey good drama can produce.”  
– The Australian

 A monumental panoramic epic…enthrals the audience with suspense, comedy, love, hatred, power and helplessness…The huge role of Edith is played magnificently by Helen Cassidy…Futcher and Howard have created a beautiful script that never flagged for a minute. It deserves to have a long and successful life.”  
– Absolute Theatre, Brisbane

 Futcher and Howard have cleverly crafted and masterfully directed a complex, spirited and rewarding play which has critics raving and the audience buzzing.”  
What’s On Today, The Courier Mail

 Michael Futcher and Helen Howard have a knack for bringing together tight-knit ensembles and the chorus work here is exemplary. Always fluid and never static, the cast came together and fell apart, appearing and reappearing, ebbing and flowing through the piece much like the water metaphor that permeates the play…by far the most theatrical piece to be staged in Brisbane this year…deeply moving.”
Scene Magazine