Lucy Kirkwood’s masterpiece The Children is presented as a double bill with I and You by THEATRE 180. An ambitious set of plays which confront our mortality and responsibilities from contrasting generational perspectives. Perhaps the stronger of the two texts, The Children sees the reunion of three retired nuclear engineers some 38 years after serious disaster at their former place of employment – a power plant.
The Children: Jenny Davis and Vivienne Garrett. Image by: Stewart Thorpe
Once again, Matthew Raven demonstrates an eye for detail and ingenuity in his transformation not only of Burt Hall but of the stage from You & I into the set of The Children. Everything from the colour palate to the set pieces and their arrangement speaks to the audience of the privileged lifestyle lived by Hazel (Jenny Davis) and Robin (Andrew Lewis).
Kirkwood’s script is truly wonderful. The writing is sharp, pertinent crackles with friction. The play is a fantastic exploration of responsibility, obligation and how priorities shift with age and experience. Direction by Stuart Halusz is solid and the dialogue flows extremely naturally between the actors. Although the script offers more potential yet to be found by this production, THEATRE 180 has offered up a fantastic WA premier.
Performances by Vivienne Garrett as Rose, Jenny Davis as Hazel and Andrew Lewis as Robin are dynamic and their on-stage generosity more than fills the intimate space. All three manage the stakes of the play with precision and the finer nuances of their characters’ relationships are well thought and handled with the careful hand of a seasoned pro.
The ambition of THEATRE 180 in presenting back-to-back works as strongly as they have cannot be understated. The company’s ethos ‘great stories, well told’ is one proclaimed by many emergent companies, yet THEATRE 180 have demonstrated how seriously they carry that responsibility for their audiences. The addition of THEATRE 180’s season to the Perth cultural sector is one I hope we can look forward to for years to come.
The Children: Andrew Lewis, Jenny Davis and Vivienne Garrett. Image by: Stewart Thorpe