Friday, June 21, 2024

Lamb

Lamb
Riverside Theatre Digital
Writer: Jane Bodie
Director: Julian Meyrick
October 30 – November 14, 2021

Jane Bodie’s generational saga Lamb is a play with songs rather than a musical and an increasingly popular genre. Nevertheless, the original music and lyrics by Mark Seymour of Hunters and Collectors are integral to the narrative and integral to its success as theatre.

While the rationale of the play is rather cliched – siblings who are reunited at a parental funeral – the formulaic opportunity of re-assessment is given an extra interest by making the issue of personal creativity central to the family’s story. The guitar is positioned almost at centre stage between Greg Clarke’s minimally evoked well-worn home kitchen and country pub, its warm colour and gleaming strings drawing our attention.

As the play opens it is obvious that Patrick (Darcy Kent) is deeply resentful of his sister Annie’s (Brigid Gallacher) success as a singer as she “deserted” the family farm leaving him to manage the sheep, their ageing parents and their mentally disadvantaged eldest sister, Kathleen (a touching Emily Goddard). From there the narrative moves backward in time unravelling the tangle of love, anger, frustration and lost dreams that has led to the present fraught relationship between the three siblings, all of whom feel rejected and abandoned in some way.

It is not until we meet with their parents, Mary (also Gallacher) and Frank (also Kent) that we encounter the heart of the play. As Frank is shyly and slyly wooing Mary through the singing of a duet, he is envisaging her as a sheep farmer’s wife but she has “other plans”. As she says flailing for the right words after admitting she is pregnant “I want to do things … I want more than this”. An uncomprehending Frank feels that she should be sufficiently gratified by his declaration that he loves her. It is after all the ’70s, and he lyrically evokes the birth of a lamb – “the most natural thing” – and the ewe’s licking of life into her vulnerable young.

Wife, mother and helpmeet, a secretive Mary sinks her ungratified ambitions into achieving her lost dreams through her daughter Annie, who, despite success, feels her life is empty. Frank’s life becomes a constant battle to maintain his sheep farm, but nevertheless, he envisages that Patrick, a secret songwriter, as inheriting the farm despite the family’s bitter suffering. The sad Kathleen drifts like a ghost between the kitchen and the pub, placeless, self-diagnosing her condition as the consequence of having a mother who did not want her.

Ultimately, the three siblings find their own creative destinies with the support of each other, and in ways that surprise. There is significant change but also continuity, and rather than sacrifice for the sake of others there is commitment to working out the best outcome for all. While it sounds like a glib recipe for a happier global society, Seymour’s music and lyrics give Lamb a greater emotional impact than it might otherwise have achieved.

Lamb is a streamed experience and will not be available on YouTube after November 14: https://riversideparramatta.com.au › show › lamb-ondemand

_______________
theatre@ssh.com.au

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img

Tenants have their say about Waterloo

In the first half of 2023, at community events, online and through government and non-government agencies, tenants had opportunity to provide their views as part of the Waterloo Public Housing Tenant Survey.

Volunteers’ News – June 2024

Volunteers’ News – June 2024.

Living with dementia – a carer’s journey: 5. Psychotic episodes

One evening in May 2020, Stuart suddenly felt freezing cold. I checked his vital signs, all seemed to be within the normal range. In the following days and weeks, gradually the symptoms became more frequent. He would start with feeling cold, then roll onto the floor, shivering, holding his head saying “you are hitting me”, “it hurts”.

Crown Princess Mary Scholarship: how a Sydney student met Denmark’s Queen

When University of Sydney student Sophia Parada began her degree in 2020, she feared the pandemic would derail her dreams of studying abroad. In late May, at a ceremony in Denmark, she shook hands with Queen Mary as she accepted a scholarship to study at the University of Copenhagen.

Jan de Voogd’s legacy of compassion

Jan de Voogd was a Quaker peace activist, musician, teacher, sailor and boat builder who lived in Sydney. Born in Japan to Dutch parents, Jan spoke several languages. His work for peace spanned more than 50 years.

Volunteers rule!

Counterpoint Community Services hosted its 18th Redfern and Waterloo Volunteer Awards at the Alexandria Town Hall on May 22. The event was part of National Volunteer Week.