Winner of the 2013 Sydney Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Mainstage Production (Susan Prior).

Orestes has come back to bury his father. He has been away a long time. His mother is hardened, his sister is strangely ill. He will see them, he will bury his father and then, in all likelihood, he will drift away again. But in a bar one night, slightly drunk, he meets a gentle soul called Pylades…

Kit Brookman’s Small and Tired sets up a brilliant moral challenge for its characters: to love in spite of all the shit. The play springs from the myth of Orestes and the House of Atreus, but Brookman’s completely disarming leap of imagination has been to fully dissolve the myth into the contemporary world.

The result is a small play which echoes large – about restlessness and modern love, about the rootlessness of the times, about the brokenness of our sense of family and humanity. At its heart is the startling idea that love is an ancient thing we have to learn and re-learn from generation to generation.

Brookman is an associate playwright at Belvoir, and his plays have something special going on: gentle, wise, oddly funny, very human and very smart. He wrote Small and Tired specially for Downstairs, and specially for the remarkable Luke Mullins.

It is beautiful.


Tom Conroy
Paul Gleeson

Sandy Gore
Luke Mullins
Susan Prior


Writer & Director Kit Brookman
Set & Costume Designer Mel Page
Lighting Designer Verity Hampson
Composer & Sound Designer Tom Hogan
Dramaturg Anthea Williams
Stage Manager Edwina Guinness



This is a powerful new work, movingly rendered by a strong cast.

Rebecca Whitton | Australian Stage

There are some quite lovely performances on show in Belvoir’s small, intimate performance space…

Vicky Frost | The Guardian

Mullins’ performance as Orestes is exquisite, and he and Conroy achieve a moving, humorous depiction of love.

Jessica Keath | Concrete Playground

Luke Mullins’ Orestes exposes the inner fragility beneath an attractively cool exterior. Susan Prior is riveting as the mercurial, occasionally manic Electra. Her emotions seem permanently poised on a knife-edge.

Jason Blake | The Sydney Morning Herald

It is a little like watching a casually Australian version of the great neo-classic French dramatist Racine. The surface is restrained, but there is something burning fiercely underneath.

John McCallum | The Australian