Thursday, September 20, 2018


Written by Dan Giovannoni
Directed by Bridget Balodis
Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre & Critical Stages production
The Q Theatre, Queanbeyan to 22 September

Reviewed by Len Power 19 September 2018

‘Jurassica’ by Melbourne writer, Dan Giovannoni, won a 2015 Green Room Award for Best Australian New Work.  A play about three generations of an Italian-Australian family living in Melbourne, it presents snap shots of significant moments from the past woven together with a medical crisis in the present.  A play about the migrant experience, communication and growing old, it presents issues we can all identify with from our own family experiences.

Ralph and Sara migrated from Tuscany in the 1950s to suburban Moorabbin. Their son, Ichlis, never really forgave them for his misunderstood name and grandson Luca is struggling to talk with his father as well as his grandfather.  When Ralph is rushed to hospital, his grandson learns at last how to connect with him.

Finely directed by Bridget Balodis, the play works very well and is quite believable and moving.  She obtains strong in-depth performances from her cast of six and the shows moves at a good pace.  There is a lot of Italian language spoken by some of the characters and, even though we may not understand everything, the direction ensures that we can follow the intent behind the words.

Joe Petruzzi as the Italian father, Ralph, is a strong presence with a great sensitivity and love for his family under the tough exterior.  As his wife, Caroline Lee gives a lovely performance – a warm and sexy woman as well as a caring wife and mother.

Jordan Fraser-Trumble is very real as the conflicted son at odds with his heritage and especially his father.  His Australian wife, Penny, is nicely played by Devon Lang Wilton with warmth and a winning humour.

Edward Orton gives a highly believable performance as the teenage grandson, Luca, having difficulties communicating with his father and grandfather.  Olga Makeeva as Kaja, the hospital interpreter from Belgrade, displays great comic timing and presents a confident, well-rounded characterisation.

The clever set design by Romanie Harper works very well.  At first glance it’s hard to see how it could be right for the play but its cleverness is revealed bit by bit as the play progresses.  The lighting design by Amelia Lever-Davidson also works very well, complementing the set and adding to the atmosphere of the play.

This is an appealing and moving play which is very well written, directed and performed.  I’m not surprised to hear that it has won awards – it deserves them.

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast in his ‘On Stage’ performing arts radio program on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3.30pm on Artsound FM 92.7.