Previous Convictions

BY ALAN FRANKS
6 April 2005 — 30 April 2005

"Franks, of course, is a wonderfully deft, intelligent writer. There is plenty of evidence of that in Previous Convictions. The play is variously about money, property, moral responsibility, political activism, marriage, intergenerational conflict, the pains of getting old and, because the family’s wealth came from a plant that grandad effectively stole from Brazilian Indians and sold to an American pharmaceuticals company, medical ethics and unscrupulous capitalism. It is rich and often fascinating stuff… the dramatic lens turns from the quarrels between Amanda and her mother, Auriol Smith’s Helena, and even from the troubles of Tony, who needs funds to avoid violence from unpaid building contractors in Brazil. Instead, the emphasis becomes Helena’s failed-writer husband, James Woolley’s Sebastian. This well-meaning but maudlin man is finely observed and performed." The Times

"It's swift, surprisingly funny and, in addressing the vexed question of care for the elderly, highly topical. If you find yourself in that next of the woods, check it out." Daily Telegraph

"Franks has some interesting state-of-the-nation type things to say and he's certainly capable of crafting a handsome-sounding phrase." Time Out

"As with all great drama, the play asks a lot of difficult questions and gives us few satisfactory answers... The complexity of Franks’ characters and themes mean the play feels utterly original... The play does contain some blow you away in your chair type thrills – Sebastian’s (James Woolley) drunken elegiac anthem to his professional and personal mediocrity is as good a bit of writing and acting as I’ve seen this year."TheatreWorld

"A play with a social conscience... Franks' writing is elegant, articulate, his characters credible." What's On