MISS PHRYNE FISHER
by Essie Davis
“Phryne is this magnificent, witty, vibrant, crazy, reckless kind of super hero who is a great champion for women’s rights and people in less fortunate situations. She really looks after women, but she loves men…she’s a lover and a fighter.” Our glamorous lady detective, The Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher, sashays through the back laneways of 1928 Melbourne, fighting injustice with her pearl-handled pistol and her dagger sharp wit. Leaving a trail of lovers in her wake, our very modern heroine makes sure she is always the centre of attention and relishes every one of life’s moments.
In her former life, however, Phryne lived on the streets in Collingwood, scrounging for food with her sister Janey and avoiding the heavy hand of her drunken father. When Janey was abducted on a trip to the circus, Phryne was left devastated.
After World War 1 erased much of her family’s lineage, the dirt-poor Fishers of Collingwood suddenly found themselves in a lofty estate in the English countryside, with Phryne’s parents elevated to the titles of lord and lady. After a few years at a stuffy boarding school, Phryne decided there was more to life than finishing school manners and high teas, and fled to join an all-women ambulance brigade attached to the French Army.
Though she is living a life of luxury come 1928, Phryne will never forget where she came from – or rest until she solves the mystery of her sister’s disappearance. It is her past that informs her sense of social justice and creates equality within her household.
Essie Davis has become one of Australia’s most respected and acclaimed film, theatre and television actors since graduating from Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art.
Essie’s film credits include Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, Code 46, Charlotte’s Web, Isolation, Australia, The Wedding Party and South Solitary, which earned her a Film Critics Circle of Australia award for Best Supporting Actress.
Essie has starred in numerous television series and miniseries including Sweeney Todd for the BBC, The Silence, After the Deluge, which earned her an AFI Award for Best Supporting Actress, and Halifax f.p: The Spider and the Fly for which she was nominated for an AFI Award for Best Performance by an Actress.
2011 was a busy year for Essie. She appeared in two of the most acclaimed programs on Australian television – the highly regarded miniseries Cloudstreet, and ABC1’s The Slap. She was also seen in the feature film Burning Man opposite Matthew Goode and Rachel Griffiths.
Over the years, Essie has also gained critical acclaim for her theatre roles. Her performance as Stella in the National Theatre (London) production of A Streetcar Named Desire earned Essie a prestigious Olivier Award and, in 2004, she was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance as Dottie in the Broadway run of the National Theatre (London) production of Jumpers. For the Sydney Theatre Company she has starred in Tot Mom and The School for Scandal, which earned her a Helpmann Award nomination, and her performance in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for the Melbourne Theatre Company saw her nominated for a Green Room Award for Best Female Performer