Fornicon poster


This 1995 Review by Patricia Laughlin says it all…

There has always been a strong element of sexuality in the work of Graeme Murphy. Fornicon continues the theme, taking it somewhat farther than he’s gone before.

An author is in prison because of subversive writing. He suspects his wife, Helene, of infidelity, and is inspired to write a book, Fornicon, concerning the exploits of Don Giovanni and Helen of Troy, a great seducer and great seductress of historic literature. They meet and play sexual games together and with anyone else who takes their fancy. The stories of the two characters mingle, The Don seducing Zerlina, while Helene gets into the act with Masetto, and also keeps the flame alight with Paris.

There are lots of laughs in Fornicon – it certainly does not take itself seriously. Murphy sees sex as manipulative and power seeking, but above all as fun. In his program note, he says that AIDS has “brought about a moral cautionary tale to a lot of theater . . . but maybe the stage is one of the few places where you . . . can see the magic of wild abandon.

There is a tender pas de deux for Zerlina and Masetto and a sensual one for Helene and Paris, but such scenes are outnumbered by orgiastic groups and those involvinq a crazed bishop with increasingly bizarre phallic fantasies.

Janet Vernon was marvelous as the wickedly seductive Helene. Mark Williams, a pop and rock singer who also moves well, made a believable character of The Don. Murphy himself was The Author, pulling the whole plot together. All the dancers performed with the skill and gusto thal is the hallmark of Sydney Dance Company.

Video Tab: Mark Williams performs Fornicon on live TV


  • Fornicon poster
  • Mark Williams & Lea Francis in Fornicon (©Branco Gaica photo)
  • Wakako Asano in Fornicon (@Branco Gaica photo)
  • Janet Vernon & Carl Plaisted in Fornicon (©Branco Gaica photo)
  • Lea Francis & Bill Pengelly in Fornicon (@Branco Gaica)
  • Mark Williams with Tim Heathcote & Chris Harris in Fornicon (©Branco Gaica photo)
  • Jan Pinkerton in Fornicon (©Branco Gaica photo)
  • Bill Pengelly, Chris Harris & Tim Heathcote in Fornicon (©Branco Gaica photo)
  • Mark Williams & Jan Pinkerton in Fornicon (©Branco Gaica photo)

Graeme Murphy

Creative Associate
Janet Vernon

Martin Armiger and Graeme Murphy

Music Commissioned Score
Martin Armiger

Martin Armiger and Mark Williams

Set Design
Brian Thomson

Costume Design
Jennifer Irwin

John Rayment

Lea Frances
Carl Plaisted
Jan Pinkerton
Patrick Harding-Irme
Wakako Asano
Xue-Jun Wang
James Taylor
Simon Turner
Katherine Griffiths
Bradley Chatfield
Timothy Heathcote
Christopher Harris
Annastacia Flewin
Jasmin Lind
Martin Lewis