by Justin Fleming
Image courtesy of Melbourne Theatre Company's production of Coup d'Etat.

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by Justin Fleming

When Malaysia's highest judge is removed from office for refusing to toe the Government line, a young American lawyer with a controversial background, Juliet Elms Morton, is sent to Kuala Lumpur to investigate breaches of the principles of the United Nations. Not only does she become entangled in a clash between East and West, Islam and Christianity, politics and law, but nothing in her life has prepared her for an unexpected encounter with the King of Malaysia, a violent man who is determined to rip the mask off Western hypocrisy.

“Like Michael Frayn’s play Copenhagen, Coup d’Etat is an engrossing night in the theatre. Justin Fleming achieves every bit as much as his British counterpart. Coup d’Etat is scintillating, bursting with rhetoric and poetry, with history and philosophy. It captivates us like an outstanding Geoffrey Robertson hypothetical ... This is good, strong and thoughtful theatre.” Chris Boyd, Herald Sun

'This is a play that seethes with passion. Coup d’Etat resonates in today’s political climate. It could not premiere at a more opportune moment. Fleming’s wide-ranging scattergun approach not only pits Christianity against Islam, but also examines feminism in a hijab-wearing world to subvert the stereotypical idea of the demure, oppressed Muslim female. Coup d’Etat succeeds in exposing the hypocrisy of the West, its audacity in deriding the policies and beliefs of smaller countries when its own dearly loved concepts of freedom are debatable. Nobody wins in this blame game – which alone makes Coup d’Etat worth seeing.' Thuy On, The Australian

This title appears in:

AWGIE Major Award (2004 nominee)

Patrick White Playwrights Award (2003 nominee)

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