This week, we are delving into UPRIGHT, the critically-acclaimed eight-part series production, co-written and starring Tim Minchin. We will discuss the captivating cinematic features the show has produced; without any spoilers, of course!
Follow on to discover the wonderful realm of Tim Minchin, and what really makes this piece just so special…
Credit: Upright, Foxtel
Many have considered UPRIGHT to be the most groundbreaking piece of media Tim Minchin has created. While being known for his music, comedy and playwrights, this series he has created is unlike any other.
Winton won the AWGIE for Comedy – Situation or Narrative for his writing on ‘Day Eight’, the final episode of the televised series. He was executive producer for the show, and also wrote music including ‘Carry You’, performed and released by Missy Higgins at the start of 2020.
The program follows Lucky Flynn (Minchin), who hasn’t been in contact with his family for years. Soon after discovering that his mother is gravely ill, he sets off on his trek across the Australian outback, a 4,000 km drive to see her. His plans are abruptly met by Meg (Milly Alcock), a rogue teenager on her own quest of self-discovery. The two misfits are thrown together resulting from some pretty wild circumstances, and thus begin their journey to return Lucky’s precious family relic – an upright piano – and forge an unlikely friendship along the way.
The plot in UPRIGHT is so uniquely specific to just one person’s life, but is portrayed in such a surreal and raw manner that we, as an audience, are forced to empathise and connect to the situation like we have once faced it ourselves. This helps us to understand the struggles faced by the duo and subconsciously allows us to further affix ourselves to the story.
Credit: Upright, Foxtel
The rural settings of the Aussie outback captures the true essence of isolation, of being outcast. The barren plains of the countryside depict how Lucky and Meg have been treated, deserted by those closest to them. Ironically, the desolate landscape they are faced with is a cruel reminder of the abandonment and rejection they have faced to get to this point.
Character development for both Lucky and Meg is prominent throughout the series. We are introduced to them in the pilot episode as misunderstood nobodies, who mask their insecurities with stubbornness and arrogance towards one another. As time progresses, the pair discover they are inevitably stuck together in the desert, and must face their own internal conflicts to find a united solution.
The show has been able to rectify a believable and thought-provoking story with the use of dark comedy to relay the ever-changing events throughout, leaving us in suspense at the end of every episode.
A feature of the show includes Lucky being sensitive to sounds around him, particularly in times of distress. Pen tapping, gum chewing, a child crying; these could be triggers which affect the way he thinks or reacts to a situation presented in the story. This element not only alludes to his paranoia and shame of fleeing the family home in Cottesloe, but also adds to the cinematic presentation and growing suspense.
The overall acting in the series is perfected to the point where you almost feel like you’re watching a documentary on someone’s life…that has gone exceedingly wrong. Milly Alcock, illustrates her character, Meg, ultimately as a feisty, foul-mouthed juvenile on the run. Lucky, played by Minchin, is a willful soul in a desperate attempt to return his mother’s piano before time runs out.
The oddball couple portray a quintessentially Australian attitude through the series, as well as our breathtaking landscapes adding to the mysteries of ‘Down Under’. Ultimately, they make an unseeingly duo but they certainly take the narrative beyond normality.
Lucky and Meg bumbling their way through the desert has definitely proved to be binge-worthy. This tale of redemption has married melancholy with macabre humour to create a suspenseful and dynamic story for the ages.
There have been moments of laughter, tears, questioning and heartache as the characters’ pasts’ and personalities slowly unravel. The energetic stage presence of Tim Minchin, as well as a great supporting cast, incredible direction, music and overall cinematography are what truly have made the piece come to life.
KB residents may feel another connection at a different level with some of the series being filmed in Kalgoorlie-Boulder and some of our locals were casted as extras! Can you spot who?
You can catch UPRIGHT on Foxtel or the Foxtel On-Demand app.