Why you need to see Once We Lived Here
REVIEW: Once We Lived Here - Pelican Playhouse South Grafton
PERHAPS the Pelican Playhouse's latest production should come with a trigger warning, such is the poignant nature and the close to home themes of Once We Lived Here.
The timing of the play also seems prophetic in the midst of climate change wars, raging bushfires and the rising rates of suicides by landowners faced with the mental cruelty such forces can exacerbate.
But don't let the production's confronting themes rattle you enough to not experience this blindingly brilliant Australian story about the land that can giveth and quite quickly taketh away.
Following hot on the heels of last year's runaway success Next to Normal with its similar exploration of the human condition, on this occasion it's not dysfunction set in New York, it's the harshness of regional rural Australia that serves as the testing backdrop for this family drama with lashings of humour.
The end result is an excellent reflection of generational life on the land and all it can throw at the human psyche.
The rocky relationships and differing opinions of this family living on the brink, delivered through word and song, seamlessly entwines to tell a story of hardship but also explores the bonds that tie people and the land together.
The ensemble cast, including a new face or two, deliver the demanding character roles with an appropriate mix of stage presence and naturalness to sweep the audience up and plonk them right in the thick of the challenges we seem to all face together.
Again the stellar live musical accompaniment in this stage drama/musical doesn't miss a beat. In fact you forget there are people playing instruments behind the hessian walls of the farmhouse unless you seek it out, such is the unobtrusive, perfectly delivered aural accompaniment.
Seeing an ambitious project like this is usually the domain of our capitals, so you'd be mad not to jump at the final opportunity this weekend and catch this rural nugget of a show performed on a small country stage in South Grafton. An apt location given the setting of this story.
- Once We Lived Here continues Friday and Saturday 7.30pm and Sunday 2pm at the Pelican Playhouse. Tickets $20 and available from South Grafton News and Gifts 6642 3027.