The Children, a play by Lucy Kirkwood – review

The children - a review

The Children, by playwright Lucy Kirkwood, entertains and provokes serious thought. On one hand, it can be viewed as witty and endearing. But The Children also carries a powerful message. It challenges the audience to think about responsibility between generations, and restitution for wrongs.

Presented by Theatre 180, the Western Australian premier runs from 12 to 29 May 2021. See below for booking and other details.

I saw a preview of the play last Saturday and found it most enjoyable and profoundly moving.

The plot

Retired physicists, Hazel (Jenny Davis) and Robin (Andrew Lewis) abandoned their old house. A tsunami had left it uninhabitable. They now live a simple life in their seaside cottage. Robin still goes to work every day on their dairy farm. Hazel keeps house.

They seem happy, although beset by domestic difficulties. Outside, a world in chaos threatens their existence. Ten years previously, the meltdown of a nearby nuclear power plant killed many people. Massive radiation and floods followed.

An old friend and former colleague, Rose (Vivienne Garrett), visits the cottage without warning. Her appearance puzzles Hazel, who is home alone when Rose arrives in a taxi. Rose’s flamboyant style challenges Hazel, who seems at a about loss to entertain the stranger.

When Robin arrives home, Rose’s presence provokes animated discussion about their shared past. It included a casual affair between Robin and Rose. The three talk about the past and also about a possible future.

Production notes state,

This provocative and powerful story skilfully addressed the importance of legacy, generational responsibilities and the environmental impact on the planet of human activity.’

Characters in The Children

This three-hander play provides the perfect vehicle for the considerable talents of these older actors. It would be hard to fault them.

Slightly flustered, forgetful and endearing, Hazel fusses with domestic chores. She offers drinks and forgets to serve them. She makes a meal and worries about the deficiencies of the house. Robin returns from work, unmistakably a farmer.

Their visitor Rose, by contrast, presents as ostentatious and worldly. But as the play continues, her defences fall away.

Costuming hit just the right note denoting the persona of the characters.

The setting

The play is set in the charming kitchen of a simple cottage somewhere in Britain. Little by little, the careful order of the room disintegrates as the play unfolds. The kitchen becomes a metaphor for the disruption that occurs in their lives.

The music, sound and production would meet even the most stringent expectations.

A little about Theatre 180

This new theatre company has entered the Perth scene with a big presence.

This is the fourth production I’ve been privileged to view in the short time it has been in existence.

I reviewed the wonderful hybrid production in a blog called A Fortunate Life – an amazing stage production. Truly innovative theatre which combines cinematography and stage craft in a satisfying mix.

The new company began just before the COVID-19 lockdowns which devastated the Arts and productions last year. I am delighted that Theatre 180 not only survived but has gone from strength to strength.

The philosophy of Theatre 180 includes the following statement.

GREAT STORIES WELL TOLD

“A 180 degree perspective takes us through all ages of life – from youth to seniors and everything in between. THEATRE 180 recognises the value that the arts play in our society in nurturing, inspiring and challenging its citizens across all stages of their lives.’

Artistic Director, Stuart Halusz

Theatre 180 has an exciting line up of performances in production for the rest of this year. You can check them out at Theatre 180

The next production I and You

Details about the Perth performances of The Children

Details about The children
Maureen-Helen

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