Thursday, May 26, 2016

MOTHERLAND



Written by Katherine Lyall-Watson
Directed by Caroline Dunphy
An Ellen Belloo and Critical Stages Production
Q Theatre, Queanbeyan to May 28

Review by Len Power 25 May 2016

‘Do you ever regret the choices you made?’ asks one character towards the end of ‘Motherland’.  Never mind that those choices were made against a backdrop of political turmoil, war and corruption in Russia and Australia, the choices were made out of love for others.

Katherine Lyall-Watson’s play focusses on the relationships between several people over a long period of the twentieth century.  How these people interact with each other becomes more and more absorbing as the play progresses and you feel surprisingly moved by their stories by the end of the play.

A cast of five play several characters which is a little confusing at first as there are no costume changes when those playing multiple roles change suddenly to their other characters.  Peter Cossar and Daniel Murphy are particularly impressive switching between their two major roles and producing very believable characterizations.  The women played by Barbara Lowing, Rebecca Riggs and Kerith Atkinson give strong, performances of great emotional depth.

Director, Caroline Dunphy, has produced a first class production that takes risks in its unusual presentation but works very well.  On a simple but eye-catching set of an abstract wall of books, designed by Penny Challen, the director keeps the actors onstage throughout the show so we never forget that their destinies are tightly bound together.  The moody and intricate lighting design by David Walters complements the set and the action as does the sound design by Dane Alexander.

This is a production where all the elements come together extremely well.  It’s a good play to start with but the challenging way it’s been produced adds additional interest, making it a memorable theatrical experience.  It plays at the Q Theatre until Saturday the 28th and it’s highly recommended.

Len Power’s reviews can also be heard on Artsound FM 92.7 ‘Artcetera’ program from 9am Saturdays.

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