Reviews for Highway of Lost Hearts:
“…an excellent reminder of how good Australian theatre can be…” – Canberra Critics Circle
“A [Darwin] festival highlight …vivid, often hilarious… written and performed with great heart.” – NT News
“…the best piece of theatre I’ve seen in years.” – Nicole Beyer, Director, Theatre Network Victoria
Highway of Lost Hearts Synopsis:
A woman. A dog. A campervan. And 5,000klm of wide open road.
Mot wakes up one morning to find that her heart is missing from her chest. She can breathe; she has a pulse – but she feels… nothing.
So, she decides to go and look for it. With her Dog enlisted as co-pilot, Mot heads down the Highway of Lost Hearts: into the deepest core of the Australian outback – navigating red dirt landscapes, fire and flood, brittle dry-ness, vast salt lakes, age-old mountains and murky waters filled with lost souls. And the further Mot drives into the deepest heart of Australia, the more she realises that everyone around her seems to be missing some vital part of themselves.
And then there’s the Dog – full of her own canine wisdom, and trying to guide Mot back on a course towards hope – if only Mot would listen better.
An allegory for a country that’s lost its heart, Highway of Lost Hearts is half gritty road journey, half magic realism and all heart. It leaves you pondering the question: when your heart goes missing, what lengths will you go to, in order to find it again?
Highway of Lost Hearts premiered at the 2012 Darwin Festival with a 2013 return season by demand at Browns Mart Theatre, and a 2014 three-month national tour. In addition to the above reviews, audience feedback nationally was overwhelming, including:
“What a fantastic magical night last night watching Mary Anne Butler’s solo woman performance in the Highway of Lost Hearts at the Araluen Arts Centre. Raw, emotional and humorous. Best show I’ve seen in a very long while…” – Yvette Holt, Indigenous poet and academic
“This is the most exquisite piece of Australian playwriting I have seen for a long time, rich vibrant stories, humourous, terrific Aussie vernacular, and Mary Anne Butler’s performance is not just a tour de force but she has managed to take us on a rollercoaster of roads both bumpy and beautiful.”
– Susan Hayes, Cairns
“Absolutely loved it… an actor and writer of consummate skill. Bravo, Mary Anne.” – Belinda Griffin, Cairns
“The Alice Springs Audience was electric, absorbed by the story the vulnerability and the punchiness of the show.” – Melissa Kerl, Totem Theatre
“…just saw Highway of Lost Hearts. I laughed, I cried, I recognised everyone she met. I know the road and relived the emotions I have had riding it. I played with the dog and fell in love with Mary Anne. Brilliant, emotional, vibrant and joyous. I loved it. Thanks for the tip, love dad” – Brendan Fraser-Bell, Canberra [to his Darwin based daughter, CJ].
Cast and crew as follows:
Writer: Mary Anne Butler
Director: Lee Lewis
Mot: Mary Anne Butler
Dramaturgy: Lee Lewis and Peter Matheson
Set Design: Kris Bird
Lighting Design: Sean Pardy
Sound Design: Panos Couros