Another great night at Red Stitch watching the Australian premiere of You Got Older. I love the way the stage space is used to create such different dramatic multimedia sets.
With minimal props and beige set I loved the wooden framed window that was used to take us thematically from the bar to mountain views and from the hospital to Mae’s bedroom – very effective!
A very funny and sad, poignant situation comedy in 2 parts, playwright Clare Barron gives us a delightful look at an average family and its quirkiness, their love for each other and how they cope when they are dealt with some of life’s serious blows.
The story is told through the eyes of Mae played by Emily Goddard, in a stand out performance she plays the role of a daughter willing to sacrifice her every day life to take care of her ill father.
Emotionally beaten up before moving back to her childhood home she takes on the role of the willing and loving daughter trying to be there for her father at a time of need, but does find such a big responsibility takes its toll as she sacrifices much of herself.
Her total dedication to her father means she neglects her own needs and finds herself totally frustrated. Her obvious suppression of sexual desire is well expressed through carnal dreamtime fantasies of a mysterious cowboy, so humorously played by Jordan Fraser-Trumble.
Mae is erratic, confined to her home and coping with her father’s illness and isolation she escapes to a bar, meets Mac and divulges in great detail all of her intimate business in a manic state. Mac of course makes an attempt for an empathetic tryst. You Got Older is rich in dialogue displaying raw emotions and the need for individuals to find solace in each other during trying times when it seems everything is caving in around you.
In the second part of the play the reality of their father’s illness brings Mae and her 3 siblings together for a delightful, honest, family conversation swinging from topics such as the family ‘smell’ and revealing of information never shared, a typical family deep and meaningful moment, as dad lays unconscious on a hospital bed.
The characters are all so well played, each with their own woes and issues they express how sometimes the worst situation can bring a family together and offer an opportunity to open up and seek support from others. Brilliant performances all round but not having seen Francis Greenslade perform on stage before and his portrayal of this dysfunctional, loving, profound, ill dad was perfect.
The ending is a joyful celebratory surprise for the life of a much-loved father; I won’t spoil it for you. I found this play to be delightful, uplifting and very humorous.
Director: Brett Cousins
Featuring: Lee Beckhurst, Emily Goddard, Francis Greenslade, Penny Harpham, Eva Seymour, Mark Yeates and Jordan Fraser-Trumble
Set: Sophie Woodward Costume: Matilda Woodroofe
Lighting: Clare Springett Sound: Daniel Nixon & Chris Wenn
Assistant Director: Joanne Booth
Stage Manager: Hannah Bullen
Assistant Stage Manager: Anthony Torouno
Photographer: Jodie Hutchinson
Red Stitch Actors Theatre, Rear 2 Chapel Street, St. Kilda
Season: 3 September – 2 October 2016
Information and Bookings: www.redstitch.net
Image: courtesy of Red Stitch Actors Theatre