Family love in its many forms comes to Welwyn Garden City theatre's stage
PUBLISHED: 19:38 13 October 2018 | UPDATED: 19:38 13 October 2018
Simon Wallace / MeltingPotPictures
An articulate, poetic and poignant drama about the family circle is coming to the stage in Welwyn Garden City.
Bob and Fran have worked hard. He’s retired and tending his roses.
She’s still nursing and generally keeping the ship afloat. The four children have grown up.
Rosie, the youngest, has been to Europe. Ben, Mark and Pip are getting on with their successful, fulfilled lives until, one year, the changing seasons bring home some shattering truths.
Written by Australian playwright Andrew Bovell and developed jointly with Frantic Assembly, Things I Know To Be True is set in Adelaide, Australia, where it premiered in 2016.
It subsequently toured the UK twice, ending up at London’s Lyric Theatre, which is where Barn director Simon Wallace came across it.
It’s some time since Wallace directed at the Barn – 2012 in fact – when he directed King Lear.
This is partly due to work commitments, but also due to the fact that he’s a bit fussy when it comes to choosing plays.
He said: “It has to be a project I am passionate about if I am to invest, and ask others to invest, in it.”
And it’s not difficult to see why he’s passionate about this one.
Beautifully touching, and bold, this is a play about family love in its many forms, comforting and supporting, suffocating and destructive.
Wallace said: “I took my Year 12 Theatre Studies class to see it at the Lyric.
“We were studying Frantic Assembly as part of our course so it seemed an ideal show for us to see.
“I went expecting a thoroughly physical, typical Frantic affair but instead was confronted by this incredibly moving and truthful portrayal of family dynamics; it was the least frantic piece of Frantic I think I have seen!
“I was instantly drawn to the characters, to the narrative and the fusion of both naturalistic and non-naturalistic styles of playing.
“On the train home I knew I wanted to have a go at directing this at the Barn.”
He added: “Fast forward a year and a bit and I tentatively answered our artistic director’s call for plays for the 2018-19 season, offering Things I Know To Be True but not expecting to get the performing rights as it was just about to go back into the West End following its national tour.
“To my surprise and absolute delight, it was available for amateur performance and I now sit here, in the rehearsal room, working with a fantastic company, and basking in a little glow that this is going to be something quite special.”
Lou Wallace plays Fran, the mother, and Jim Kinloch plays Bob, the dad.
Sixteen hopefuls auditioned for the role of Rosie, which went to Jessica Anne, a talented young actor who’s new to the Barn stage.
Noah Fox, who had his blazing Barn debut in Let The Right One In, takes on the role of Ben.
Lauren Christy, who makes a welcome return to the Barn stage, plays Pip while Harry Harding takes on the role of Mark.
The play opens on Friday, October 19 and runs until Saturday, October 27. Expect strong language.
Tickets cost £13 and performances are at 8pm, with a matinee on the second Saturday at 2.30pm.
• For tickets, visit the Barn Theatre website at www.barntheatre.co.uk or call the box office on 01707 324300.