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There is no such thing as the perfect family
It begins with a phone call in the middle of the night... and as we all know getting that phone call at an unreasonable time means one thing- bad news.
This play unfolds over a year in the life of a working-class Australian family and takes us inside their lives of both ups and downs and everything in between, circling back to that fateful phone call moment.
Things I Know to be True is a deeply moving theatre production about family, parenting, identity and love and what makes this play a must-see production is that we can all relate to these things in one way or another.
As the play unfolds we track the passage of time of the seasonal changes, with Bob and Fran Price's (Tony Martin and Helen Thompson) offspring. who face crises that bring them straight back home to their parents.
But the way we are introduced to the Price family is through the eyes of the youngest daughter Rosie, who returns home early from an overseas trip in the opening moments of the play.
Rosie (Miranda Daughtry) travels through Europe solo, and begins to wonder when her life is going to start, when will she have her heart broken. Her sister Pip (Anna Lise Phillips) lives in an unhappy marriage with kids, even though her husband is loyal and is a great father, while Mark (Tom Hobbs) wrestles with identity issues, and Ben (Matt Levett) flashes his money around to keep up the appearances with the former private school boys he works with.
The play is mostly set in the backyard of the Price's, and this becomes an analogy for the world; the place where the family spent time together, the siblings growing up, and many family events that have occurred in that very garden, including a wedding.
As we are taken into this close-knit family live (even though they bicker and fight), we can feel the emotional energy from Fran bringing up her children and working full-time as a nurse. She is funny, supportive and brutally honest as well as being right when something is going on. She has the audience in hysterics then suddenly gasping at the cruelty of her candour the next.
Bob finds that he has too much time on his hands, having taken early redundancy. Since becoming redundant he spends all his time in the garden. Loving his roses; they are his pride and joy and they say a lot about him.
We get a great insight and humanity about family tensions and love, in particular the complications and emotional demands of being a parent: the need to listen rather than to always talk, accepting what you dream of your children being is not what they may want, the sacrifices made, and the changes in values of different generations.
Throughout the performance, you cannot doubt the love Bob and Fran have for their children, however, it is clear in seeing their struggles of things that their children present to them.
This nonstop laugh-out-loud production had the whole audience in hysterics constantly, yet at the same time there were powerful emotional moments that had the audience questioning and reflecting on their own lives, and how very similar we are to the characters.
The cast was faultless and did a spectacular job from start to the very end. Each cast member performed so perfectly attuned that when the mood of the play suddenly changed (it does several times), the audience responds immediately.
Things I Know to be True by Andrew Bovell reaches out into your heart from its opening moments and keeps you grasping to the very shattering end, where it was profoundly moving.
It is a beautiful, compassionate, tender and comical play written and staged with great humanity and strength, funny yet deeply moving. It is a must-see play that cannot be missed this winter season!
Tickets can be purchased online or at the Box Office.