Castle Hill Players have chosen well with Andrew Bovell’s powerful play ‘Things I Know To Be True’ beginning their 2021 season. The production was about to open last year before COVID -19 struck, so it is wonderful for audiences to see it finally make it to the stage.
Carol Wimmer skilfully directs this play which explores Australian working-class suburban life with humour, drama and a great attention to detail, in the context of the Price family. Every word in the script has meaning and moves us forward as each incident weaves the complexities of the family dynamics into an extraordinary family drama.
As with most families each of the characters in the Price family is facing their own challenges as the adult children break away from the parents, and hopes and aspirations are shattered. Love, support and conflict exist side by side as the characters negotiate their changing relationships.
After a brief setting of the scene, the story is introduced by Rosie, the baby of the family played by Kate Jirelle who, in a beautifully executed monologue, brings all the hopes and dreams of a young woman searching for her own path in life. She has just returned from an overseas trip and desperately needs family comfort as she recovers from a broken heart, yet doesn’t want to disappoint her parents hopes she was having the time of her life.
Bob, played by Stephen Snars, is a kind and supportive father who has taken early retirement and is feeling lost in a world where he has too much time to fill and his children are taking paths alien to his expectations. His usually kind hearted character calming the waters and trying to keep the peace is a great foil to the tough blunt and often angry manner of his wife Fran played by Annette Van Roden. Fran can’t help but give advice and talk about responsibilities yet we sense a longing in her for other joys.
Pippa, played by Vivienne Rodda, has a very complicated relationship with her mother yet many things in their characters are similar as the daughter’s desires reflect those of her mother in her younger days.
Mark, played by Adam Garden slowly revels his long-seated unhappiness and gives a sensitive performance in his revelation. We feel his suffering as the family struggles to know how to support him. There is a very special, tender moment as Rosie and Ben swap watches.
Ben Freeman as Ben generates huge amounts of physical and energy as he gets in with the wrong crowd and brings many family tensions to a head.
As Bob says he hoped his kids would be “better versions of us”. However, despite all the tensions and difficulties Fran and Bob love their four kids dearly and kids love them just as much.
Yet again those involved in the set designers and construction have excelled themselves. The back porch complete with covered BBQ flows onto the backyard with roses changing from season to season, a garden gnome and gum tree with swing, bringing back childhood memories for many audience members. The delicate, often haunting music heightens the emotions and helps connect the scenes.
Don’t miss this show playing until 27th February 2021 at the Pavilion Theatre, Castle Hill Showground. How wonderful to again be experiencing quality live theatre.