“I had heard about The Torrentsfor many years in relation to The Doll. It has that reputation of the one that got away,” says Clare Watson, Artistic Director of Black Swan State Theatre Company.

The Torrents, Celia Pacquola Celia Pacquola. Photo © Rene Vaile

Oriel Gray’s The Torrentsis finally receiving the attention that has long been lavished on Ray Lawler’s seminal play, Summer of the Seventeenth Doll. Cursed to be mentioned in the same breath ever since they were joint winners of the prestigious Playwrights’ Advisory Board Competition in 1955, its performance history has been comparatively dismal. Whereas The Dollreceived its premiere that same year – the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust had promised to produce the PAB winner, and chose Lawler’s play over Gray’s – The Torrentshas only received three productions. A matter of great disappointment to the late playwright and her family, Watson hopes to put things right with her production, which opens in Perth this month before transferring to Sydney in July.

The Torrentsis a screwball comedy set in the 1890s, taking as its chief concern the operations of a regional newspaper. The arrival of its...