Skip to content

Theatre Alive: Young & Jackson

See article in its original context here by Theatre Alive.


A graduate of the Western Australian Academy of the Performing Arts, Helpmann Award winner and all-round nice guy, Charlie Cousins is probably best known at the moment for his work as Charlie Davis in ABC’s The Doctor Blake Mysteries.
Taking a time out from TV, he’s now about to tread the boards in the world premiere season of Young and Jackson at fortyfivedownstairs. We chatted with him in the lead-up!

Tell us a bit about the show. What’s your role within it all?

Young and Jackson is about these four young adults coming to terms with what it means to truly live on their own terms in a time of great unrest and major change. The Second World War has raged for six long years and has forever left a mark on everyone involved, near and far.

For Jimmy and Keith it is a chance to see the world, have a great adventure and experience life to the full. For Lorna it is the potential to change the rules of how women are seen and the opportunities they are given. For Les, it is the challenge of how to reintegrate back into civilian life after living through the horrors of war.

What do you hope audiences will take away from the piece?

The play is full of so much life; youthful joy and exuberance, sexual awakenings, comedy of errors, missed opportunities, misunderstandings and meaningful connections.

There’s something so special about seeing these four lives being thrust out of that simpler time into a newer, more complicated and frenetic world.

What’s more we get to see how the identity of the nation has changed as we revisit the beautiful and nostalgic period of the 40’s.

It’s going to be a really lovely immersive theatre experience, time travelling back into that world.

The play (obviously) has a fair bit to do with Melbourne’s iconic Young and Jackson Hotel; can you give us any interesting bits of back story about the pub?

Yeah, Young and Jackson’s Hotel holds such a tender place for so many people.

It really is an icon of Melbourne, and Chloe is the great siren that lures so many of us to visit the pub from all corners of the globe. Wonderful stories are frequently heard of encountering Chloe’s mythical beauty.

This one from Robin Ramsay is a favourite; “Me and other slight 10 year olds snuck in to Young and Jackson’s in 1947 on our school hols to have a squiz at Chloe and got chased out by large men…but we had a glimpse of heaven to come!”

You may not know this, but in the earlier days the bar was filled to the brim with many fine paintings, as Henry Figsby Young was an avid art collector. Apparently there was even a Turner!

You’ve worked for many years as an actor across professional film, TV and theatre, and also extensively in the independent sector. What brings you back to working on independent productions?

In a word, Passion!

It’s infectious to be around people who deeply love what they do, and carry out their daily deeds with a burning fire to bring that to life.

Yes, it can be hard and filled with rejection and loss, but when you gather a bunch of passionate people together, that are able to cast their personal agendas and egos aside and focus their collective humanity and compassion into telling a story that truly matters, that’s when magic happens.

And that’s very healing for all involved. And the world can always do with more wholeness.

Who inspires you, and why?

Inspiration is so important. The more you allow it, the more you see and feel it.

Our wonderful director, Wayne Harrison has been such an inspiration through this journey. He has had such an amazing career.

Now, it’s quite easy and all too common for people that have reached great heights in the industry to have an air of superiority and a holier than thou quality to them, yet Wayne has been nothing but full of inclusive generosity, genuine care and heartening leadership.

A real and true inspiration!

Young and Jackson hits the stage at fortyfivedownstairs from the 5th of March, 2015.


Back To Top