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Posts Tagged ‘Seline Hizli’

I’n not sure how I managed to miss this play by Australian playwright Andrew Bovell first time round in 2016. The playwright has been on my radar since enjoying both When the Rain Stops Falling and Speaking in Tongues. I particularly like the structure of his plays, as I do with this one.

It’s set in Adelaide, Australia, over one year in the Price family home. They are a typical suburban family where the parents have worked hard to ensure their children get a better life. Husband / father Bob is a redundant car worker and wife / mother Fran is a nurse. They have four grown up children, the eldest of which, thirty-four-year-old Pip, herself has two girls. The middle two boys, Mark aged 32 and Ben aged 28, are both single and then there’s nineteen-year-old Rosie, nine years younger than the next sibling, who was clearly unplanned. It’s a dramatic year for all four children who between then face a separation, emigration, broken heart, corporate crime and a questioning of gender.

It covers so many issues in just two hours playing time. The parents can’t let go of their children, but the children can’t let go of them too. With children dependent on their parents for so much longer today, it seems very timely. The nature of parent-child relationships has changed in just one generation and this one family seems to embody the entire issue. It’s beautifully written, with much depth in the characterisation and complete authenticity in the situations and relationships.

The staging by Geordie Brookman and Scott Graham is outstanding too, with Frantic Assembly’s Graham adding his beautiful, delicate movement and physical theatre touches. I thought all six performances were terrific – Ewan Stewart and Cate Hamer as the loving parents, with distinctly different relationships with each child. Seline Hizli’s Pip has a difficult relationship with her mum, but they have more in common than either realise. Arthur Wilson’s Ben, spoilt my mum, is moving in posher circles, with consequences. Matthew Barker’s Mark isn’t the son dad thought he was. Kirsty Oswald plays Rosie, whose sibling relationships are defined by the age gaps, and she’s the only one who hasn’t disappointed her parents, yet. Lovely performances.

I found this a deeply satisfying, thought provoking play. The golden age continues.

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The roll at the Court continues. This is the seventh gem in the main house in less than two years – that’s some roll.

This one revolves around the mid-life crisis of Hilary and in particular her relationship with teenage daughter Tilly. Her marriage is dull, her job is at risk and her actor best friend is bonkers. What preoccupies her most, though, is her daughter – her schooling and her sexual awakening. Tilly’s best friend gets pregnant as she starts sleeping with boyfriend Josh and from here we’re on an emotional rollercoaster that brings in Josh’s parents and another boy who Tilly brings home. Even these very liberal middle class professionals are severely challenged by the awesome challenge of parenthood during these teenage years.

Anyone of a certain age (mine!), whether they’ve had kids or not, will find this all totally believable (I suspect playwright April de Angelis has written, at least in part, from experience), but anyone of any age will find much to enjoy here. The characterisations are terrific and the writing sharp and funny, but at times also very moving with a really heart-warming but unsentimental ending. Compared with the other five de Angelis plays I’ve seen, this is on another level altogether. Director Nina Raine has done a terrific job, with simple white settings from Lizzie Clachan which ensure the pace isn’t slowed down by scene changes (and with a very clever transformation to a seaside setting).

Tasmin Grieg has done some wonderful work in recent years – she was a great Beatrice for the RSC and followed this with a trio of excellent performances in modern plays – Gethsemane, God of Carnage and the under-rated The Little Dog Laughed – and here she is simply terrific. She IS Hilary; every expression, shrug and glance conveying what she’s going through. Bel Powley as Tilly and Seline Hizli as her friend Lyndsey are both outstanding, the former perfectly capturing the love / hate conflict that most teenagers go through with their parents. I also liked Richard Lintern and Sarah Woodward as Josh’s parents with different perspectives on their son’s responsibilities, and Doon Mackichan is a hoot as best friend Frances (to say more would constitute a spoiler).

This is a very satisfying evening of theatre – though-provoking & funny, leaving you with a warm glow and a sense of hope. Miss at your peril.

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