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'Rupert' play opens in America

Playwright David Williamson arrives in Washington for the US premiere of his play Rupert.

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David Williamson’s cabaret on the life of Rupert Murdoch has received mixed reviews for its American premiere, with the Washington Post panning the work as ‘‘one-dimensional’’ and full of ‘‘endless detail’’.

Though some minor edits were made in the wake of Murdoch’s split with Wendi Deng, the Melbourne Theatre Company play was roundly dismissed by Post reviewer Peter Marks who described the sensation of ‘‘being assailed by endless detail from an annotated résumé’’.

Marks also lamented the lack of interior life portrayed in Williamson’s production, writing ‘‘for a play told from the billionaire’s own perspective, we don’t learn much about him that can’t be gleaned from a Harvard Business School case study’’.

The cast of the Melbourne Theatre Company production <i>Rupert</i> on stage in Washington.

The cast of the Melbourne Theatre Company production Rupert on stage in Washington. Photo: Margot Schulman

It echoes The Age review from the Melbourne premiere of Rupert in 2013, which complained Williamson did not  ‘‘unearth ... something more of the man beyond the public persona’’.

However, another review of the US performance from Broadway World was full of praise for the actors who portrayed a young Rupert (Guy Edmonds) and the present-day media mogul (Sean O’Shea), describing the play as ‘‘thoroughly entertaining’’.

Rupert is one of 13 productions at the World Stages theatre festival at Washington’s Kennedy Center. It marks the MTC’s first international tour in more than 30 years.

Headliners: Kim Beazley with David Williamson on opening night of MTC's Rupert in Washington.

Kim Beazley with David Williamson ahead of the opening night of MTC's Rupert in Washington. Photo: Supplied

In December, Fairfax Media reported that the MTC was looking to take Rupert to London later this year.