This is an excellent production. If it were not for the torrential rain pounding on the roof on opening night, you could have heard a pin drop as the audience were transfixed from the opening scenes.
It is a joy to watch a play that has been written by a South Australian, Andrew Bovell, and is set in South Australia, in a house in Hallett Cove. It is a deeply moving piece of theatre about family, parenting, identity and love with much that you’ll recognise from your own relationships, even if you might not want to admit it. The result is very confronting.
The play opens with a powerful monologue from Rosie Price (Zanny Edhouse), the youngest of 4 adult children, providing the pre story to why she returns home early from a European holiday, desperate for the comfort of the family unit that she loves so dearly. We meet parents Bob, Tim Williams, who was forced into retirement at 63 following the closure of the automotive plant where he worked, Fran, Nicole Rutty, who continues to work hard as a nurse at the local hospital and the remaining Price offspring Mark, Joshua Coldwell, Pip, Cheryl Douglas, and Ben, Leighton Vogt. With cleverly crafted conversation we are immediately transported to the bickering, judgement and love of a close-knit Australian family, at least on the surface. The next two hours condenses the course of a year in which these seemingly strong ties unravel.
Director Geoff Brittan has assembled an excellent cast. Williams and Rutty are both outstanding as the parents who struggle to support their children and each other. As each of the children return to the fold when in crises, we often see the good cop, bad cop routine. It is not the nature of the predicaments that matters as much as their parent’s response. There is much humour and compassion with contrasting cruelty, vulnerability and confusion as they are forced to accept that the dreams of their children are not the dreams they had for their children, or themselves. Coldwell, Douglas and Vogt also deliver fine performances. There is no weak link in this
Once again St Jude’s should be commended for set design, Ole Wiebkin, which uses the space well and is supported by effective light and sound.
This production is an emotional rollercoaster right up to the gut-wrenching final moments. I’m loath to reveal too much and urge you to go along for the ride. But take tissues!
Things I Know to be True
St. Jude’s Players
St. Jude’s Players