Crashburn: articles

Sacha Horler

Sacha Horler enjoyed working with gorillas in Crashburn

Animal instincts

THE latest television production from award-winning duo Andrew Knight and Deb Cox thrashes out a relationship drama from both sides of the equation.

Cox and Knight, makers of SeaChange and After the Deluge, conceived the idea during a coffee-shop conversation and it was immediately green-lit by Channel 10 drama head Sue Masters.

Crashburn has an innovative format not seen on television before. The 13-part series focuses on the relationship of Ben (played by Aaron Blabey) and Rosie (Catherine McClements).

Viewers meet the couple after their 10-year marriage reaches an impasse and they begin a trial separation. Various friends chime in with their version of events, including Rosie's quirky zookeeper mate Abby, played by Sacha Horler.

The couple's experiences are told separately—one half of the show is seen from Ben's perspective and the other from Rosie's view.

Both reflect on past experiences in their relationship, shown in flashbacks, and both have different views of what went wrong.

Knight says of the innovative approach: "A lot of television is precedent-driven but then you see a show like 24 that has a unique structure and format and you feel the excitement of seeing something new and I hope people get that with this. It feels different."

Crashburn also is politically incorrect and impolite, the pair assert proudly, as they attempted to be honest in covering both sides of the gender gap in relationships.

Blabey says the show's honesty attracted him. "One of my favourite episodes is one about the way that men can never remember anything and yet women are human time capsules—they know what you did wrong, when you did it and what you were wearing when you did it," he says.

Blabey, who is best known for his AFI-winning role in the ABC series The Damnation of Harvey McHugh, has also guest-starred in a number of television series, including Water Rats in which he worked alongside his future on-screen wife Catherine McClements.

The show provides yet another interesting role for Horler, who also appeared in The Damnation of Harvey McHugh and SeaChange. Abby is Rosie's oldest friend, a zookeeper who believes humans should be more like animals.

Horler says Abby's take on relationships involves a Darwinist approach in which people should "understand there are base animal instincts at the same time as wearing a wedding band".

That said, Horler admits Abby is a bit of a hypocrite. She is married to Gary, a fellow zookeeper who is often away. Horler says her character is not happy in the relationship and it colours her perspective of other people's relationships.

Ben also receives support, encouragement and a lot of bad advice from his friends, including Adam (Grant Piro), Theo (Bob Franklin) and Richard (Richard Piper).

While Horler is a well-known name in Australian film and theatre circles, Crashburn is only her third regular television role following her standout performance in Grass Roots.

The AFI Award-winner says this is because "there was never a plan" to her career, but that she was immediately attracted to this show for its "keen observation and heart".

"It's what we're interested in as people—it's what we deal with in the office or at home every day," she says.

"I've got some pretty big issues to deal with in this show, too—whether or not she's going to have a baby, whether her husband is going to come back."

But the biggest excitement for Horler, who moved to Melbourne for the show, was getting the chance to get close to gorillas at Melbourne Zoo.

"Obviously there were keepers there and we weren't touching them or being invasive but to be in such close proximity to the gorillas was just quite glorious. We were all in shock," she says.

Horler hopes Australian television viewers have a similar reaction to Crashburn, and she has a message for male viewers who may have reservations watching a show about relationships: "It's not just a chicks show."

"I certainly recognised all that boys' share-house stuff at the beginning (of the show) and how grubby it is and how they never clean up," she says.

"It was great to see how the boys are more interested in pool and beer and the girls are interested in the emotional side of life. I think people will recognise themselves in this show."

 Crashburn, Channel 10, Monday, 8.30pm

By Jennifer Dudley
August 14, 2003
The Courier Mail