The Hotel Hibiscus
A political satire for the stage by Robert Cockburn. Adapted for the screen as The Colonel’s Driver.

Samson, the young island bus driver at the Hotel Hibiscus, can’t understand how he got from the hotel bar to the hospital morgue. Now his ghost must find his killer among its fleeing guests - if he is ever to get into the next life.


The Hotel Hibiscus is wicked drama and political satire set in a dirty war for gold on an old Australian Pacific island colony just as rebels are driving out the army.

One set serves as hotel bar and hospital morgue - and this life and the next.


Who dunnit? Patty Carmichael, hotel owner and Samson’s lover, who came to clear up her late grandfather’s hotel? Australian diplomat Colonel Chris Baulkham sent to negotiate a ceasefire and who Patty stayed on for? Defeated Army Commander Major Ramara, OBE? Or Samson's rebel friends angry he chose to help the colonel save foreigners trapped behind their advancing lines? 

No one can see Samson or smell his decomposing body as this non-believer discovers the after-life exists - and his ancestors wait answers. He has until the last plane flies out...

Samson enters a mirror world of witch doctors and media spin doctors, political masks and corporate taboos. ruled by Australian Foreign Minister, and in the background lurks Australian Foreign Minister Dr Garth Oddes. Moralistic member of Amnesty International, does he secretly run the war for gold?


There’s hot reporter Sally Ann and terrified sports photographer Lenny here by mistake. And the hotel’s all-knowing old barman Benedict who knows a bad spirit when he smells one.


As a soldier Colonel Baulkham never hurt anyone. Now he’s a diplomat, desperately trying to clean up. As the bar runs out of alcohol Baulkham laments: ‘Just a little war my minister wanted. To turn lead into gold. He learnt the lessons of history… and couldn’t wait to repeat them.’


Against a backdrop of helicopter gunships, tropical storms and radio coverage of the distant Commonwealth Games, will the truth will out...


Performed by Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Arts with Bob Maza, Deb Kennedy, Bryan Marshall, Michael Watson, Deb Galanos and Tim Aris; work-shopped at the Sydney Theatre Company; performed at Sydney’s Zenith Theatre with Billy Macpherson, Sopa Enari, Amanda Jermyn, Dominic McDonald and Madela Mathia. Hotel Hibiscus is adapted for the screenplay The Colonel’s Driver, funded by the Australian Film Commission.


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