Monday, October 20, 2014

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY



Written by Tracy Letts
Directed by Cate Clelland
Free Rain Theatre
Courtyard Studio Canberra Theatre Centre
17 October – 2 November, 2014

Review by Len Power 17 October 2014

Most of us can remember times when our own families went through rough patches emotionally.  If we thought we had problems, they were nowhere near as monumental as those of the Weston family portrayed in Tracy Letts’ award-winning 2008 play, ‘August: Osage County’.

A black comedy on an epic scale, the play shows us the interaction of an Oklahoma family both before and after the death of a family member.  The director, Cate Clelland, and her large cast of performers take us on a rollercoaster ride through every human emotion that is fascinating, harrowing, moving, very funny and ultimately hugely enjoyable.

Every member of the cast of thirteen more than meets the considerable challenges of this play.  Karen Vickery and Andrea Close as mother and daughter have the lions’ share of the dialogue and both give performances that will leave you breathless.  Jim Adamik, Liz Bradley, Lainie Hart and Karen Weston are especially memorable but everyone has their moment to shine.

The action of the play takes place in various rooms of a rambling old house.  Set designer, Cate Clelland, has cleverly used the wide space in the Courtyard Studio to create an ‘ant farm’ like environment so that we can see simultaneous action in various rooms as required.  The show is nicely lit by Hamish McConchie with well-chosen costumes by Fiona Leach and enhanced by the subtle sound design by Tracey Rice.

Cate Clelland has directed one of her best shows ever.  This is an excellent production of an extraordinary play.

Originally published in Canberra City News digital edition 18 October 2014


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