Directed by Rachel Pengilly – Movement Direction by Hannah Pengilly
by Mel Davies and Lachlan Davies - Costume Design by Helen Wajtas
and Sound Design by Shannon Parnell - Lighting Design by Jacob Aquilina
Direction by Jim Punnett – Dramaturgy by Jordan Best
Q The Locals & Ribix Productions – The Q, Queanbeyan, 2nd – 5th
night performance on 2nd August reviewed by BILL STEPHENS.
|Christopher Samuel Carrol (Kerr) - Chips (Angus) in "Legacies"
The details of a true incident involving one of her ancestors, David ‘Jollie’ Brand, passed on to her by her grandmother, provided the inspiration for Rachel Pengilly to write and direct “Legacies”.
play tells a compelling story of six young Scottish stowaways who were
abandoned by the ship’s captain on an ice-flow when the ship on which they had
stowed-away became entrapped.
imaginative production, presented by The Q as part of its “Q The Locals”
program, marks Pengilly’s debut as both playwright and director, and a very
impressive debut it is on both counts.
within an excellent, setting of tall-ship sails, created by Mel and Lachlan
Davies and sensitively lit by Jacob Aquilina, with stylish costumes by Helen
Wajtas, the play commences slowly.
choreographed fishing-village inhabitants go about their daily business to a sea-shanty
sung to a whistled accompaniment. Village boys engage in a playful swordfight, performed
to a haunting soundtrack that created an elegiac, almost balletic, mood.
is not until the six boys, played by phoebe Silberman (Hugh McEwan), Tamara
Brammall (Hugh McGinnes), Joshua James (John Paul), Zoe Ross (Peter Currie),
Jack Morton (David Brand), Tom Bryson (James Bryson), first meet on board the
ship, that the story begins to take hold.
|Phoebe Silberman (Hugh McEwan) and cast in "Elegies"
by the brutal bosun, Kerr (Christopher Samuel
Carroll), the boys are put to work on the ship. All goes well until one
of the boys steals some biscuits. Tom takes the blame. Kerr forces David to flog
him, following which the stowaways are confined below deck.
When the ship becomes stuck in the ice and
rations run low, Kerr orders that the stowaways be abandoned overboard. The
Ship’s captain, Captain Watt (Tom Cullen) does nothing to prevent this
happening, and the boys are left to perish.
Most of the
second act is taken up with a cleverly staged depiction of the journey of the
boys over the ice, during which two perish and the others, including David
Brand, incredibly, reach safety; following which Captain Watt and Kerr are put
her creatives have much to be proud of with this production. It is laden with
excellent staging ideas. The throwing overboard of one of the boys, the
superbly stage sword fight, the long trek over the snow are among many
memorable moments. However, in an effort to include every good idea, pacing
suffered and the story-telling was often compromised.
In a bid to
achieve authenticity, all the characters speak in thick Scottish accents. Not
all the actors were accomplished in this, resulting in many of the lines being unintelligible
and much essential information being lost. The play is much less busy in the
second half and therefore more effective.
|Tom Bryson (James Bryson) - Joshua James (John Paul) - Jack Morton (David Brand)
over-exuberant movement, Pengilly has drawn some fine performances from her
actors. Jack Morton is outstanding in
the central role of David Brand, particularly in the second act, where his
bare-footed walking on ice was painful to watch. Joshua James as John Paul and
Tom Bryson as James Bryson both offered strong performances, although Bryson will
be even more effective once he learns to kerb his tendency to shout his lines.
deeply committed performances from Zoe Ross as Peter Currie, Phoebe Silberman
as Hugh McEwan and Tamara Brammall as Hugh McGinnes, the gender-blind casting
put them at a disadvantage by compromising the authenticity of the story-telling,
particularly in the scenes where the six boys were thrown together. Tabby
Silberman charmed with her warm presence as Mother, while Heidi Silberman made
the most of her opportunities as Agnes and Catherine.
Samuel Carroll added gravitas as the brutal Kerr, while Tom Cullen invested his
Captain Watt with just the correct level of hesitant incompetence.
Pengilly has crafted an interesting play which tells an important story. Jordan
Best’s “Q The Locals” program has provided Pengilly not only with the valuable
opportunity to mount her play, but also to extend her directorial and
organisational talents by mounting this impressive production. Pengilly will learn much from this opportunity,
which has already marked her as a promising emerging theatre-maker.