The subject of Steve Rodgers play, adapted from the novel by Peter Goldsworthy, is not Jesus. The subject is family, how devoted we are to it and how we will give everything to it.
Linda and Rick Pollard are a happy couple. They have two children, Ben and the younger child, Wol. Life is going smoothly.
The couple try and protect Ben and Wol from the harsher realities of life. They want them to be ‘bathed’ in love. They even banish the tv from their house as an unnecessary distraction from .the peaceful environment they are determined to live in.
Then one day, their girl Wol takes ill. They take her to the Doctor. The Doc organises a battery of tests. The results come back. Wol has leukaemia.
The perfect Pollard family world is rocked. The family goes into damage control. It isn’t helped when, in one scene, Wol completely ‘loses it’ and screams out that she doesn’t want to be alone, she doesn’t want to die.
Darren Yap very sensitively directs this production and wins good performances from his cast. Matthew Whittet plays the idealistic Nick. Liam Nunan is Ben who just wants to see his sister get better. Grace Truman gives a touching performance as Wol.
Valerie Bader doubles up as Grandma and Doctor Eve. Mark Lee plays Grandpa and the local priest.
My performance of the night was Emma Jackson’s as the very gritty, earthy mother, Linda.
Emma Vine’s compact set and costume design worked well as did Max Lambert’s soundscape, underscoring the action.
A touching, sensitively wrought drama, JESUS WANTS ME FOR A SUNBEAM plays upstairs at Belvoir Street Theatre, 25 Belvoir Street, Surry Hills until Sunday 8th March, 2020.
Featured image : Matthew Whittet and Emma Jackson in ‘Jesus wants me for a sunbeam’. Pic by Brett Boardman.