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Jigsaws at Old Mill Theatre

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Jigsaws pieces together puzzling parts of family
Jigsaws family drama stage performance Old Mill Theatre South Perth
The puzzling parts of family are pieced together in Jigsaws featuring actors Tracy Bolton, left, Hayley Currie, Beryl Francis, Judi Johnson and Danni Close at the Old Mill Theatre.

An incisive and witty family drama comes to the Old Mill Theatre this February, as part of its year of all-Australian plays to commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli landing.

Written by Jennifer Rogers and directed by Adam Salathiel, Jigsaws is set in the late '80s and focuses on three generations of women in the same family. The play explores issues of sisterhood and mother and daughter relationships in what's been described as a "funny but poignant" show.

Family life in the play is a like a jigsaw puzzle where the pieces sometimes fit and sometimes they don't, providing plenty of ups and downs along the way. A Christmas reunion doesn't exactly go the plan as various family members bring past indiscretions to light and attitudes and circumstances constantly change.

Beryl Francis plays Emma, the mother and grandmother of the family.

"Jigsaws appealed because I played the character some years ago and loved the play," she said. "When I was offered the chance to repeat the role, I jumped at it."

Danni Close plays Monica and says she fell in love with the character because she is a perfectionist like her.

"Her mind whizzes around at a million miles a minute and doesn't stop for anyone or anything even sleep," she said.

There is an amazing scene where the audience experiences the verbalisation of Monica's inner thought processes and can fully appreciate what she essentially puts up with every day of her life."

Adam, the director, has been involved in theatre for more years than he can remember. Having covered every aspect of production, from acting, backstage, lighting and sound, front-of-house through to choreography, direction, and even producing shows, he is extremely versatile and able to adapt to change at a moment's notice.

Working with various theatre groups all over Perth from Roleystone to Playlovers to the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre and Kwinana's Koorliny Arts Centre, Adam also finds time to be artistic director of nomadic theatre company Laughing Horse Productions.

While this is Adam's first role as a director for the Old Mill Theatre, he is no stranger to its walls and stage, having performed as the judge in The Hatpin. He also directed a one-act play for Laughing Horse Productions that appeared on the Old Mill stage as part of the 2013 Dramafest.
Jigsaws family drama stage performance Old Mill Theatre South Perth
Tracy Bolton, left, and Judi Johnson play sisters like chalk and cheese in the witty family drama Jigsaws.

Adam says he is looking forward to bringing Jigsaws to life and says it deals with sensitive issues for mature audiences.

"It's a superbly written play which, even though set in the 80s, has a lot of the messages and themes that are still extremely relevant in today's society," he says. "I want the audience to connect with the various cast members and relate to them and their issues as they are portrayed on stage.

"I also want them to laugh in all the right places yet also feel for the actors and also possibly shed a tear or two. Some of the scenes may remind the audience of their own families and issues they might be struggling with themselves."

And Adam is no stranger to Jigsaws in 2010, he was involved with a Kwinana Theatre Workshop production of the show as a sound technician. Directed by the late Sue Hayward, it was there he fell in love with the script.

"I've always wanted to see it return to the stage," Adam said. "And now five years on, thanks to the Old Mill Theatre, I am getting that chance."

Jigsaws plays at 8pm February 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20 and 21 with a 2pm matinee on February 15. Tickets are $25, $20 concession book on 9367 8719, oldmilltheatre@iinet.net.au or at the Old Mill Theatre website.

There's also a special charity night on February 7. The performance is being devoted to Nakuru Hope's Gabriel's Orphanage. Bookings can be made at www.trybooking.com. All tickets are $25.

The Old Mill Theatre is on the corner of Mends Street and Mill Point Road, South Perth (opposite Australia Post and the Windsor Hotel).

Jigsaws family drama stage performance Old Mill Theatre South Perth
Despite the fractured family, three generations come together in Jigsaws: Aunty Pat (Tracy Bolton), grandmother Emma (Beryl Francis) and granddaughter Alex (Hayley Currie).
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Why? A beautifully poignant play about family with characters people can relate to
When: 8pm Feb 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20 and 21; 2pm Feb 15
Phone: 9367 8719
Where: Old Mill Theatre, Mends Street, South Perth, WA
Cost: $25, $20 concession
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