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wild thing : it makes your heart sing

Di Adams, Katrina Foster, Lewis Fitz-Gerald and Helen O’Connor in Wild Thing

Suzanne Hawley’s play WILD THING starts in 1956. Jackie, Elizabeth, Frances and Susan are thirteen year old high school besties.

Jackie is the leader, the D’Artagnan to her three musketeers, a wild thing ready to buck and challenge the system and to inspire and incite her cohorts to do likewise.

Forged on the anvil of school days, the quartet’s friendship becomes an indelible and enduring relationship that sees them share the “rites of passage” trip to England that was de rigeur for certain young Australians in the Swinging Sixties.

In the decades that follow, their lives take on their own trajectories, but stay in each other’s orbit. Jackie remains the least changed, embracing motherhood but eschewing matrimony, preferring a perennial partnership with her Italian lover rather than becoming a wife, an honorific that is horrific, an anathema to her atheist aesthete.

Lizzie is possibly the next least changed, more akin to Jackie from the get go,  a survivor of several marriages, now a pot smoking, pole dancing writer of trashy novels.

Frances became a marriage counsellor who couldn’t see her own marriage heading for the skids and Susan settled for the safe and conventional husband and house, converting to Catholicism to seal the deal.

The women’s latest reunion is more than reminiscences, however, with devastating revelations that nudges the nostalgia zone out of its comfort zone.

WILD THING is a simple play that celebrates the profound importance of friendship, of independence cantilevering with interdependence, of conflicts resolved and histories honoured.

Four enchanting actors give supple characterisation to Hawley’s ultimately endearing and empowered women.

Di Smith as Jackie is stridently confident as the free spirited captain of the clique, strikingly sensual and life embracing, a rallying force in railing against the dying of the light.

Helen O’Connor is dazzlingly brazen as the dope toking, booze fuelled Liz, Katrina Foster imbues Frances with the supportive and nurturing qualities of her profession and personality while processing her baffling marriage failure,  and Di Adams as the spouse mouse, Susan, builds a slow burn journey to roaring self determination.

Lewis Fitz-Gerald engages with multiple characters ranging from exacerbated teacher to concerned farmer to arch age care worker and Philip D’Ambrosio does double duty alternating between Jackie’s bi-lingual Italian lover and their devoted son.

Directed by Kim Hardwick, WILD THING is a nimble ninety minutes of laughter, tears, courage and love – all that is good in this wild thing called life.

WILD THING plays till March 20 at Flightpath Theatre, Marrickville.

Featured image : Di Adams, Helen O’Connor, Philip D’Ambrosio and Di Smith in ‘Wild Thing’ 

https://www.flightpaththeatre.org/whats-on/wild-thing-by-suzanne-hawley 

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