‘Always tell the truth. Even if the tellin’ of it leaves ya alone, face down in the dirt. Mouth fulla sheep dags and dirty secrets. Always tell the truth.’


Invoking the expansive, isolating beauty of rural Australia, Reg Cribb’s epic new play is about a man ravaged by drought, family secrets and love.

The Murray family have been farming the land along the Darling River for five generations. For Tom Murray, it’s all he’s ever known. When his childhood friends Lucy and Billy reappear, deep friendships are tested, and secrets, long buried, are finally awakened – Tom must make the long journey down-stream to reconcile past wrongs and to fight for his wife.

Reg Cribb is a highly-awarded playwright and screenwriter. His plays Last Cab to Darwin and The Return / Last Train to Freo have been adapted into feature films and he wrote the screenplay for the award-winning Bran Nue Dae.

Produced by Stone Soup

Cast & Creatives

Director Chris Bendall
Set & Costume Designer Dann Barber
Composer & Sound Designer Kingsley Reeve
Lighting Designer Alexander Berlage
Stage Manager Ruth Horsfall
Co-Producers Pippa Bailey and Chris Bendall
With Grant Cartwright, Vanessa Downing, Nicholas Papademetriou, Francesca Savige, Bjorn Stewart

Performance Times

Performance Dates
Previews 13 & 14 January
16 – 30 January

Performance Times
Monday – Saturday 7pm
Saturday 30 January 2pm & 7pm

Run Time
140 minutes, including 20 minute interval


Interview with Reg Cribb, Thomas Murray and the Upside-Down River


“Big sky. Big river. Big betrayal. Big secrets exposed as the river recedes. Thomas Murray is a lot of play for your money… Chris Bendall’s direction is imaginative, fluent in its handling of the play’s temporal shifts and notably physical. Designer Dann Barber’s wooden ramp of a stage has all kinds of surprises built into it. Kingsley Reeve’s sound design twangs and shimmers.” Jason Blake, Sydney Morning Hearld

“Reg Cribb is a writer whose imagination catches fire when presented with the everyday dramas and dreams of ‘ordinary’ Australians…The play is a rich exploration of character and story. The language crackles with humour, bitterness and authenticity.” Diana Simmonds, Stage Noise

“Grant Cartwright as Thomas Murray is wonderful. Understated, focused and riveting to watch… The production was well conceptualized and lovingly created, under the direction of Chris Bendall, weaving clever design, soundscape, choreography and lighting into the storytelling to create scale in a scaled down space.” Dennis Clements, Australian Stage

Thomas Murray and the Upside Down River is an important and interesting work that explores the secrets and lies retained for generations along with society’s mistreatment and prejudice of the original landowners. It is well executed, retaining a good pace and honesty with a blend of humour and hurt.” Jade Kops, Broadway World Review