"family dynamics explored and defined"
by Debra Hall for remotegoat on 11/10/17

A family collective is explored at every angle and is reflective of the bitter sweet realities of human kind. This heart-warming play reveals agenda driven flaws and insecurities of two sons and two daughters and of Mum and Dad too. It is through the periodic visits and longer stay returns to the parental home by the four siblings in days and weeks of the near present that we get to know them all.

The insightful writing exposes the candid side of people expectation (of oneself and of others) and also acknowledges the kind of hopes, dreams and desires that can link, be shared and understood between particular pairings within the family dynamic and when wedge and division happens and how it happens.

I introduce you now to the family:

Bob (John McArdle) – had a lifelong desire to retire early from the car plant …but now he’s there…What’s next?
Fran (Cate Hamer) – with her children now grown up. Can she cut herself adrift?
Pip (Seline Hizli) – is resentful that she is often the subject up for family questioning
Mark (Matthew Barker) – in his mind, he’ll forever be the black sheep
Ben (Arthur Wilson) – has established a real knack to wangle things in his favour
Rosie (Kirsty Oswald) – is empathic and carefree, but a hopeless romantic

The script is ingeniously constructed and presents us with characters with real personalities, and are ones we will all recognise. Amusing that Mum and Dad particularly, had clear UK Northern accents in a story that is Australian. It matters none however, because though there is constant reference to Australian cities and airport(s) the majority of scenes take place in the back garden of the family home. The subjects and themes which arise while the family are in that back garden, happen, and are happening every day, in many a home based, real life settings around the world. This is why it is so poignant and fascinating.

Some small irritations in regard to the acoustics and effects that didn’t quite work in the setting, but, overall, the cast are doing such a great job that you forget these things.

I cried a tear or two at the play's end, by which time the title 'Things I know to be True' had taken on a deeper meaning in my mind. The players received a standing ovation and I’ve been talking about the play all evening and this morning so I highly recommend going to see it.

Photography by Manuel Harlan

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