A staged reading of a new Australian play.
It’s 1927. Esther Cole and Bobby Scott are international stars of the Australian theatre and best friends. When a stranger is killed in front of Esther, in the back alley behind Sydney’s National Theatre, his last words are something about Bobby, Shanghai and a man called Ryder. Ryder was working in the creek bed in Spring Gully where Bobby’s mother, Louisa, was shot and killed twenty years before.
Esther suspects that the stranger’s murder is linked to the death of Bobby’s mother and she determines to solve the mystery. She boards a liner to Shanghai to find Ryder while Bobby reluctantly makes his way back home to Spring Gully.
On opposite sides of the Pacific, the partners in crime enlist the help of friends, lovers and strangers. Esther tracks her quarry in the face of bandits and hijacked trains, Shanghai jazz and civil war. Meanwhile, on the goldfields of Victoria, witnesses to Louisa’s death reveal the events of that terrible summer’s day.
Shanghai Express is a dramatic thriller with comedy and songs.
The writing, development and presentation of the play, Shanghai Express, comprises the major practical component of Mary-Anne’s PhD in practice-based research.