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Review -Things I know to be True: a good bite at sensitive issues

By Lilian Harrington

Production: Things I know to be True

Writer: Andrew Bovell

Company: Brisbane Arts Theatre

Director: John Boyce

Location: 210 Petrie Tce.

Season: 4 February - 4 March

Bookings: / Phone : 33692344

Brisbane Arts Theatre is known for its dramatic, thought provoking, entertaining productions presented on a well -designed stage and Things I know to be True by Andrew Bovell, certainly doesn’t disappoint, because it looks at the difficult reality’s that are faced by a South Australian family.

This production has been directed by seasoned director, John Boyce, with a very committed cast, many of whom have studied their drama skills in the training workshops offered at Arts, led by veteran actor Alex Lanham , (Bob Price), they work well as an ensemble.

Accomplished Australian playwright Andrew Bovell, pursues real life themes as he explores some funny, poignant, heartbreaking, and divisive themes as part of the dynamics faced by the Price family, who have to cope with some uncomfortable truths.

Bovell explores sensitive social issues. These concerns need to be heard. Known for works such as “When the Rain Stops Falling”, and “Speaking in Tongues”; he has won several literary awards in particular the 2002 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and AWGIE -stage Award for “ Who’s Afraid of the working Class?”. “Things I know to be True “is a dark comedy, set in a contemporary unit in an Adelaide suburb. The characters, all have a chance to tell their own story. In this play Bovell manages to deal with family conflict, secrets, disappointments, crime, money, distance, tragedy, anger, fury, a marriage affair, home life, death and transgender.

Rosie, (Eleni Koutsoukis)the youngest of the four Price children, gives an opening monologue and reflects on her overseas trip; she returns home after an unhappy affair with a rogue Spanish lover, who’s taken her personal belongings and broken her heart. She’s looking for a new beginning and intends to study, far away from home, but family difficulties arise. Her sister Pip (Carly Stockall ) has decided to leave her husband and two kids, to go and live in Vancouver in the USA; she’s never had a good relationship with Fran (Cathy Stanley), her mother, so she’s communicated her intentions to her by a letter. It’s only by letter that things get resolved. Mark Price, the eldest son has decided to come out and transgender to become Mia, and much to his parents horror and dismay he moves away to Sydney to transition through transgender hormone therapy. Further,

it’s discovered that Ben Price (Henry Fallows), the younger son, an accountant, has used company funds illegally and purchased a European Car and got into drugs; Fran Price is very upset with him; she doesn’t want him to go to prison, so much to Bob’s anger she offers to repay the stolen funds through her secret stash of savings that she’s put aside over the years.

The set is symbolic and highlighted the reality faced by the family. The rose garden that Bob Price has tended for years, and the old tree a symbol of the family and the inspirations seen in the relationship between Fran and her daughters, Bob’s fight with Ben, Bob and Fran’s dance to restore a fading love, Mark’s transition to Mia. All seasonal changes like Bob’s garden, all symbolic. Fran plans for changes, Bob can’t. Her untimely death reunites the grieving family, yet some issues remain unresolved.

Opening night seemed to lack the punch in the first act; some dialogue was delivered in a monotone, and difficult to hear at times. There were key scenes where the focus was very intense and this was well received by audience. The first act seemed rather drawn out, but the second act went at a good pace. The lighting and technical effects complimented the action and helped move the production forward. This is a thought provoking play and Bovell has had a good bite at sensitive issues.


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