Press Releases


25 Aug 2016

Joanna Murray-Smith’s acclaimed two-hander, Switzerland, comes to MTC with the stunning original cast of Sarah Peirse and Eamon Farren. Under the direction of newly appointed MTC Associate Director Sarah Goodes, this Sydney Theatre Company production opens at Southbank Theatre, the Sumner on Wednesday 21 September.

Inspired by renowned master crime novelist Patricia Highsmith, Switzerland is an original thriller that begins with a knock at the door and spirals into a calculated contest of wits and words. An earnest, clean-cut young man sent from Highsmith’s publisher’s office turns up at her alpine retreat to convince her to write a final book. But Patricia decided long ago that she didn’t like people, and she certainly doesn’t like this young man. But he’s wilier than she first supposes and their confrontation soon turns into a cat-and-mouse game – but who is cat and who is mouse?

Highsmith created some of the greatest suspense novels in modern literature, writing dozens of works that would become notorious for their startling violence and unstable, morally ambiguous characters. She became best known for the Ripley series and its eponymous criminal hero; a seductive, amoral libertine who gets away with murder. Patricia Highsmith was born in Texas in 1921 and died alone in Switzerland in 1995.

Director Sarah Goodes said, ‘Joanna Murray-Smith’s Switzerland is a thrilling ride into the dark centre of one of the great writers if our time. A thriller at its heart it is also a journey into a psychological space that explores transformation and the act of creativity.’

Joanna Murray-Smith has achieved international success as an Australian playwright. 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 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 2004 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.

New MTC Associate Director Sarah Goodes has garnered a reputation as a leading director of new Australian and international work, attracting critical acclaim and multiple award nominations for her productions including Disgraced, The Hanging, Switzerland, Battle of Waterloo, The Effect and Orlando (all for Sydney Theatre Company). Formerly resident director at STC, she has also directed Vere (Faith), The Splinter and Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness for the company. Other directing credits include Black Milk, The Sweetest Thing and The Small Things (Belvoir); The Colour of Panic (Sydney Opera House and its Norwegian tour); Vertigo and the Virginia and The Schelling Point, Hilt and What Happened Was (Old Fitzroy Theatre); and The Unscrupulous Murderer Hasse Karlson Reveals the Gruesome Truth About the Woman Who Froze to Death on a Railway Bridge (Darlinghurst Theatre Company).

A Sydney Theatre Company Production.


Director Sarah Goodes

Designer Michael Scott-Mitchell

Lighting Designer Nick Schlieper

Composer and Sound Designer Steve Francis

Cast Eamon Farren, Sarah Peirse


‘A gripping psychological thriller. Creeps up on you and then has you on the edge of your seat.’ The Sunday Telegraph

‘Draws you into Highsmith’s world completely.’ Sydney Morning Herald

‘Two outstanding performances.’ The Daily Review

‘Scintillating, mesmerising, sexy, and more than a bit heady.’ ArtsHub


Southbank Theatre, The Sumner

Season dates
17 September – 29 October

Opening night
Wednesday 21 September 8pm

Tickets on sale now
MTC Box Office
03 8688 0800 or


Published on 25 August 2016