Overview

Synopsis

Joanna Murray-Smith's acclaimed tale of cat and mouse comes to MTC featuring the stunning original Sydney Theatre Company team of actors Sarah Peirse and Eamon Farren, and director Sarah Goodes.
View More

Cast & Creatives

View More

Reviews

4.5

Whether you’re a mad Highsmith fan, or you’ve never heard of her, you’ll be chilled and gripped, amused and seduced by this pitch-perfect psychological thriller.

The Age
View More

Synopsis

2014 STA Best New Australian Work

Joanna Murray-Smith’s acclaimed tale of cat and mouse comes to MTC featuring the stunning original Sydney Theatre Company team.

Patricia Highsmith, best-selling author of The Talented Mr. Ripley, is living as a recluse somewhere in the Swiss alps. When she is visited by a young and green editor from her New York publishing house, hoping to convince the terrifying Miss Highsmith to write one last Ripley, their confrontation soon turns into a cat-and-mouse game – but who is cat and who mouse?

In Switzerland, Joanna Murray-Smith builds tension like the final chapters of one of Highsmith’s own thrillers. This acclaimed two-hander is directed by Sarah Goodes with the stunning cast of Sarah Peirse and Eamon Farren, with design by Michael Scott-Mitchell, lighting by Nick Schlieper and composition by Steve Francis.

A Sydney Theatre Company Production. The Australian premiere production of Switzerland was generously supported by Kim Williams AM and Catherine Dovey.

Cast & Crew

Eamon Farren

Eamon Farren

Cast

Sarah Peirse

Sarah Peirse

Cast

Sarah Goodes

Sarah Goodes

Director

Michael Scott-Mitchell

Michael Scott-Mitchell

Set & Costume Designer

Nick Schlieper.jpg

Nick Schlieper

Lighting Designer

Steve Francis

Steve Francis

Composer & Sound Designer

News & Reviews

Reviews

4.5

Whether you’re a mad Highsmith fan, or you’ve never heard of her, you’ll be chilled and gripped, amused and seduced by this pitch-perfect psychological thriller.

The Age
4

One of the most convincing and confident performances on a Melbourne stage all year.

Time Out Melbourne

Witty and Intelligent.

Herald Sun
4.5

A gripping psychological thriller. Creeps up on you and then has you on the edge of your seat.

The Sunday Telegraph
4.5

Two outstanding performances.

The Daily Review

Scintillating, mesmerising, sexy, and more than a bit heady.

ArtsHub

Venues

More Information

The playwright

Joanna Murray-Smith Joanna Murray-Smith is one of Australia’s most nationally and internationally acclaimed playwrights. Her work has been nominated for many awards including the Olivier Award for Best Comedy for The Female of the Species. Her other plays include Switzerland; Pennsylvania Avenue; Fury; True Minds; Day One, A Hotel, Evening; The Gift; Rockabye; Ninety; Bombshells; Honour; Redemption; Love Child; and the smash-hit, Songs for Nobodies. She has been awarded two Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards for Drama, the Braille Book of the Year Award, Edinburgh Fringe First Award and the London Theatregoers Choice Award. She was also a finalist for the 2006 Miles Franklin Award and was nominated for the 2004 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Switzerland was awarded 2014 STA Best New Australian Work.

The characters

Sarah Peirse plays Patricia Highsmith, a surly and reclusive novelist.

Eamon Farren plays Edward, a young man who works for Highsmith’s publisher.

The story

Patricia Highsmith, best-selling author of The Talented Mr. Ripley, is living as a recluse somewhere in the Swiss alps. When an unwelcome young man is sent from her publisher’s office to convince her to write a final book, their confrontation soon turns into a cat-and-mouse game – but who is cat and who mouse?

It’s a battle of wits, and the tension builds like the final chapters of one of Highsmith’s own thrillers.

Fun facts

While Murray-Smith’s play Switzerland is a work of fiction, the character of Patricia Highsmith is based on the real-life crime novelist. Other than being famous for her acclaimed psychological thrillers, Highsmith was also widely known for her unpleasant demeanour (she was labelled racist and misogynist by many) as well as her numerous affairs with women, many of whom were married.

Highsmith was also very fond of snails – at one stage, when she was living in England in the sixties, she kept three hundred of them. She told people she enjoyed watching them mate, which they did with a typical snail-like languor. She once pulled a head of lettuce full of snails out of her handbag during a cocktail party.

Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt (1952) was adapted to film in 2015 as Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. It was Highsmith’s only openly lesbian novel, and she initially published the novel under a pseudonym, denying authorship until late in her life.

Learn more

Listen to Joanna Murray-Smith speak to Fiona Gruber about Switzerland and being inspired by best-selling author Patricia Highsmith in our MTC Talks podcast.

Read more about the infamous Patricia Highsmith.

See what audiences are saying about Switzerland.

Attendance Information

  • Contains coarse language, violence and the use of herbal cigarettes. For further information, please call our box office on (03) 8688 0800.
  • FM Hearing Systems are available for this production
  • This production will be audio described on 11 October (6.30pm) and 15 October (4pm, with a tactile tour at 3pm), and captioned on 29 October (4pm).
A Sydney Theatre Company production
Sydney Theatre Company