Written by award-winning Australian playwright Kieran Carroll and performed by three-time Barry Award nominee and star of recent hit film The Merger, Damian Callinan, NEWK traces the life of the great Australian tennis champion of the 1960s and 70s, John Newcombe.
Set in 2014 at Newk’s 70th birthday in Sydney, Newcombe’s journey travels from naïve 1960s schoolboy, to the No 1 player in the world in the 1970s, to his time as Davis Cup Captain, to the stroke he suffered in 2003.
Numerous well-known guests drop by to celebrate his special day and share the memories. Both drama and comedy, the play portrays a highly determined and ambitious man burning through a quickly changing world. Aware he’s putting his family second emotionally while conscious of providing for them financially, the play exposes the exhausting schedules that even players of yesteryear endured. Volatile off-court politics are also rife as the game moves into full blown professionalism.
The play also captures hilarious moments from some of Newcombe’s numerous commercials and business enterprises: Cinzano, bananas, Canon cameras and K-Tel tennis instruction albums!
NEWK is a grand story about wanting life to be a huge ride, where rest is secondary and finally how that zest and appetite for life never disappears but needs to be tempered.