Thursday 25 April 2024

Things I Know To Be True review

Living in the suburbs of Adelaide, the Price family appear to be leading a pretty charmed life. Home owners, good careers, marriage and children and going on holidays. But beneath all this deemed success lies frustrations and fears that gradually reach the surface and threaten the foundation of everything this family holds tight in Andrew Bovell's Things I Know To Be True.

Written in 2016, Bovell's script remains a powerful punch to the gut in its exploration of how love can heal and hurt us, and the generational changes of what the Australian dream is. Bovell takes the time to establish the relationships between the parents and their four children, which each child given hefty scenes of confession, either through monologues or conversations with their parents. Kitan Petkovski allows these varying degrees of strained relationships to develop through his astute direction and guiding authentic and sincere performances that tackle some challenging topics.

Belinda McClory gives a dynamite performance as the deeply loving but deeply flawed matriarch Fran. There are many instances where she is hurtful and spiteful to those around her, but McClory shows that the love is still there, even if it's completely misguided. Ben Grant is the perfect counterpart to McClory as Fran's husband Bob. Despite being a big, burly bloke with a beard, he is the softness of the family compared to Fran's hardness. He's more accepting of his children's choices but he carries the burden of these choices and is in constant struggle trying to keep the family together.

Brigid Gallacher, Tomáš Kantor, Joss McClelland and Eva Rees bring committed performances as Fran and Bob's children. They have a considered awareness of the needs and motivations of their characters, and how this translates within the family dynamics. Kantor particularly gives an emotional and touching portrayal as the second eldest sibling who comes out as transgender to their family.

Throughout the play, references are made of escaping the family home or being unable to escape this suburban rut the siblings find themselves in. Characters eventually leave for bigger cities and other countries, so it's fitting that Bethany J Fellows has created a set of the family's large backyard that is closed off by high fences that no one see over, intensifying this sense of needing to escape.

Ian Moorhead's composition and sound design is equal measures familial and nostalgic and bubbling tensions that convey a heightened uncertainty about the future. It serves as a bridge between scenes, leading to an impressively unassuming and unsettling effect.

Things I Know To Be True is a stunning production by Petkovski and the team he has assembled. He possesses an incredible ability to take words off the paper and transpose them into a compelling theatrical experience that leaves in indelible impression on its audience.

Show Details

Venue: Theatre Works, 14 Acland St, St. Kilda
Season: until 4 May | Tues - Sat 7:30pm
Duration: 140 minutes (including 20 minute interval)
Tickets: $50 Full | $42 Concession | 20 for $20
 Theatre Works

Image credit: Andrew Bott

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