Andrew Bovell’s (2016) play THINGS I KNOW TO BE TRUE charts one year in the life of the Price family. Bob and Fran are battlers who own their own home in suburban Adelaide and have raised four children. Now that their children are young adults they are looking forward to more quiet times and enjoy the time to smell the roses not just metaphorically but also in real life as Bob has spent plenty of time planting them and watching them bloom in his much loved garden.
Bob and Fran’s hopes for a contented life fade away as their children get themselves tangled up in blue. First, their youngest,Rosie, comes back early from her European holiday after having her heart broken by a narcissistic man. Then Pip announces she is leaving her husband and young children to live in Canada.
Hailey McQueen directs the action well and wins good performances from her cast.
As father Bob, James Bean is in his senior years and with traditional values. Not long before the play starts he has taken a redundancy package from the car assembly factory where he has worked his entire adult life. Like many men of his time, there’s a volatility lurking nearby which Bean conveys well.
Kath Gordon plays Bob’s wife, Fran, a tough, straight shooting kind of woman. She till holds down a job as a nurse. Gordon reveals the fierceness in. Fran that is just under the surface.
Michael Smith plays Mark who has, for many years, struggled with his gender identity and comes to a decision that comes from ‘left field’ and leaves the family reeling.
Ben Chapple plays Ben who is envious of his middle, upper middle class friends and chooses a devious path to keep up with them.
Skye Beker plays Rosie who finds it hard to find her feet. She cuts short her big overseas holiday and ,now home, she doesn’t know what to do with her life. Beker conveyed the fragility of her character so well.
Ann Wilson plays daughter Pip who breaks up a marriage with a loyal partner and loving children to go and live in Vancouver for an undisclosed reason which Fran is sure she knows about!
Hailey McQueen’s talented creative team comprised set and lighting designer Victor Kalka, composer and sound designer Rhiannon Cox, costume designer Eleni Chrysafis and movement director Miriam Green.
This much I know to be true. This is a very focused production of Bovell’s deeply intimate and touching play.
THINGS I KNOW TO BE TRUE is playing the New Theatre, 542 King Street, Newtown until Saturday 17 December 2022.
Production photography by Bob Seary