‘¿Como sabes que esto no es el sueño?
(How do you know this is not the dream?)
How do you know this is not the nightmare?’
Mortido is a remarkable crime drama, revenge tragedy and morality play all rolled into one.
Jimmy is a small-time dealer and Monte is a biggish-time distributor. Grubbe is a detective. They all want the same thing: to live out their lives in leisure. And a water view would be nice. But for Jimmy and Monte to win, Grubbe has to lose. Same goes the other way.
It begins with a Mexican fable about death and ends in the Western suburbs of Sydney. In between it takes in the public housing on Belvoir Street, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, quinoa, Nazi Germany, Qantas, Coca-Cola, a seventh birthday party, the Surry Hills police, the property market and a body in the harbour. The connective tissue? Cocaine.
This is Betzien’s most ambitious play so far, and a brilliant portrait of the Emerald City: familiar, bizarre, glorious and mean. A quintessential Sydney tale about crime, globalisation and the killer desire for a bigger house.