A Little Bit of Pain Never Hurt Anyone

Periscope Productions and Holden Street Theatres present


About the show

A new play about the fear of making the same mistakes your parents did.

In a sandpit somewhere in the suburbs, an eight-year-old boy named Jess disrupts Billy as she plays with her toy anglerfish. Over the next two decades, the two become friends, then lovers, as they try to navigate an Australia where boys are meant to be boys and girls are meant to do all the crying for them.

This new work by Ballarat playwright Brendan McDougall is about the loss of innocence and what that does to kids struggling with what it means to be a woman, a man or a parent. Hopeful and tragic in equal measure, this play combines the weird worlds of Lally Katz with the theatrical inventiveness of Caryl Churchill. It will move anyone who has ever felt trapped by the way young Australian men and women are instructed on how to love themselves and others.

After a sold out run at Melbourne’s Butterfly Club, Periscope Productions brings its heartbreaking interrogation of the joy and terror of being both a child and a parent to Holden St. This two-decade love story captured in 55 minutes is not to be missed.

About Periscope Productions:

Periscope Productions is an independent Melbourne theatre company who specialise in bringing the absurd into the every day, having spent the last few years making tiny shows (Botho Strauss' 'Time in the Room', Harold Pinter's 'A Kind of Alaska' and Caryl Churchill's 'A Number') in Airbnb apartments across Melbourne. After training at NIDA and VCA respectively, Periscope's co-founders Ben Sheen and Brendan McDougall have teamed up as director and writer to make this new Australian work.

Praise for A Little Bit of Pain Never Hurt Anyone

★★★★ 1/2 '50 minutes of sheer delight...From the puppetry scene to the finale this reviewer was spellbound.' - Adelaide Theatre Guide

'...a play exploring themes of gender, identity, relationships and personal growth' - Radio Adelaide

'It is perfect' - Stage Whispers

'It’s a really great piece of theatre from an emerging company who deserve support and encouragement from the industry.
I left this play wanting to hug my children and hoping it wasn’t too late to right the wrongs I’ve already committed as a parent, and also comforted that the insanity I felt as a teenager, adult and now as parent is normal.
A brilliant and, at times disturbing look at how one generation impacts the next. Keep with it you’ll understand more about the work as the play goes on.'

Martha Lott

"A surreal look at gender and how childhood shapes our adult perceptions for better and worse, this is a gem. It's sharp without being heartless, and beautifully performed. Small, but perfectly formed."
Alison Croggon

“The characters literally play out their childhood traumas and challenge stereotypes in a sandpit on stage … dazzled by the perfectly delivered complex script”
Jeni Wilson

“An engaging two-person performance that holds a mirror up to Australia… the result is equally funny and melancholic”

“Witty and refreshingly modern...Be sure not to miss it”
Morgan Begg


Director: Benjamin Sheen

Writer: Brendan McDougall

Billy: Brittany Lewis

Jess: Julian Dibley-Hall

Designer: Alia Syed

Composer/Sound Designer: Jorde Heys

Producer: Gabrielle McLeod


Tickets on Sale Now


Origin: VIC

Rating: M

Length: 55 minutes

Season: 2018

15-16, 18 Feb at 9:15pm
18, 24 Feb, 3 Mar at 1:45pm
20, 27 Feb at 7:45pm
21-25, 28 Feb, 1-4 Mar at 7:45pm


Adult: $25.00
Group: $22.00
Concession: $22.00
Cheap Tuesday: $18.00

Companion Card holders welcome.

Venue: The Arch, Holden Street Theatres

Tickets on Sale Now


That Daring Australian Girl

6 Mar - 18 Mar

Holden Street Theatres - The Arch


Once Were Pirates

23 Feb - 11 Mar

Holden Street Theatres - The Manse



1 Mar - 2 Mar

Holden Street Theatres - The Arch



14 Feb - 15 Mar

Holden Street Theatres - The Arch