Review - The Father: challenging, but never grim
John Sayles as Andre and Sarah Ogden as Anne
By Florian Zeller
Translated by Christopher Hampton
Directed by Timothy Wynn
Presented by Moreton Bay Theatre Company
Season: 18 – 27 October. Duration 90 minutes - No Interval. Bookings: https://mbtc.com.au/events/the-father-2/
Moreton Bay Theatre Company continues its reputation for not being afraid to produce thought-provoking and interesting pieces with this production of The Father.
The intimate Neverland Theatre space has been used to great effect with the staging of Florian Zeller’s rewarding play. In a stark white world we see things through the eyes of Andre (John Sayles) as he battles with the very real problem of dementia.
This production, skillfully and thoughtfully directed by Timothy Wynn, with very clever use of lighting and soundscape, plays with time and our expectations of reality, as moments in Andre’s life come, go and sometimes repeat like short sharp scenes on a TV screen with static in-between.
We are challenged to grasp what might be real and what is not as Andre grapples to come to grips with an ever confusing world.
Strangers keep turning up in his flat, indeed his flat itself seems to keep changing. Is his daughter Anne married or not, and does she live in London or Paris? Why does his other daughter Elise never visit? Why does his watch keep disappearing?
In the role of Andre, John Sayles skillfully portrayed a man who is breaking apart, with empathy and humour, one moment quite irritating in his child-like demands the next, charming and playful. As his daughter Anne, Sarah Ogden was also a standout as she struggled to come to terms with her father’s state of mind, the physical and emotional burden of how to care for him, and the demands of her life and marriage to Pierre.
David Paterson as Pierre, June Tretheway as The Woman, Amanda Burgess as Laura and John Da Cruz and The Man completed the ensemble, each with their own finely tuned performance, with every role vital to the telling of Andre’s journey.
Although challenging, this production is never grim, and is definitely worth viewing.
Warning – this production uses Strobe lighting