facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11
Are you missing theatre as much as we are? Support us now with Theatre Tokens and see your favourite shows when they reopen. #IMissTheatre

Our Country’s Good at the National Theatre

First Published 27 August 2015, Last Updated 6 June 2018

What’s it all about?

In the 18th century, hundreds of convicts were shipped to Australia to prevent overcrowding in English prisons and it is in this lonely, brutal landscape that Timberlake Wertenbaker’s outstanding drama finds its story of hope and redemption through art playing out.

Against this setting of red sands and vast orange-tinged skies, Second Lieutenant Ralph Clark attempts to bring decorum by convincing his superiors to let him stage a production of The Recruiting Officer with the convicts as the players. And, as theatre has a habit of doing, the creation of something beautiful against a culture of humiliation and cruelty sets in motion an incredible transformation.

Who’s in it?

Nadia Fall’s company brings alive Wertenbaker’s words with pure electricity as Fall injects passion and poignancy with her powerful direction.

While this is truly an ensemble triumph, there are a number of stand-out performances that ensure this play resonates. Notably, an unrecognisable Jodie McNee gives a stark turn as the hard as nails Liz Morden. As the last remaining dignity is ripped from the fated convict, McNee’s heart-wrenching rawness is only equalled by a sensational Paul Kaye who twitches, spits and unravels in the most skin crawling way possible as the mentally unbalanced Midshipman Harry Brewer.

Jason Hughes gives a gripping performance as Ralph, moving seamlessly from sanctimonious to humbled, while Caoilfhionn Dunne shines as his muse Mary Brenham and Lee Ross brings warmth and humanity as the grandiose pick pocket Sideway.

What should I look out for?

Cerys Matthews’ music that adds moments of beauty to the brutality. Mixing folk with sea shanties and melancholic ballads, it aches with homesickness and will fill your stomach with a thousand butterflies. While the cast handles the songs well, it is musician Josienne Clarke’s clear, haunting voice that will send shivers up your spine.

In a nutshell?

Beauty and brutality combine in Nadia Fall’s epic and passionate shattering staging of Our Country’s Good.

What’s being said on Twitter?


To see this content you’ll need to allow us to set some additional cookies!

Update your cookie preferences here and enable ‘social and advertising cookies’


To see this content you’ll need to allow us to set some additional cookies!

Update your cookie preferences here and enable ‘social and advertising cookies’

Will I like it?

It’s a bold statement, but I’m going to say there can be no better stage for Wertenbaker’s modern classic than the National Theatre. It’s a love letter to theatre that the National Theatre should rightly embody and with its backdrop a vast, empty Aboriginal Australia, the scale of the Olivier Theatre in Nadia Fall’s hands – so capable of making the epic feel both emotionally overwhelming and utterly relatable – provides the perfect stage. Go to be blown away.

Our Country’s Good is playing until 17 October. You can book tickets through us here.


Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.