A birthday, a celebration, a reunion and a first meeting. All these moments make up Kate Mulvany's semi-autobiographical piece, The Seed. A son returns to his hometown of Nottingham to visit with his father and confront demons both past and present in battle for truth, honor and acceptance.
It has been thirty years since their last meeting and by the will of his daughter Rose, Danny is encouraged to bring together the family on their combined birthday of the 5th of November and allow her to meet the infamous tyrant he has called "Da."
The son of an Irish IRA supporting father and loving English mother, Danny (Tony Martin) left Nottingham in the 1960's to become a "ten pound pom," (the affectionate term given to the influx of English immigrants post WW2) and has been living in Geraldton WA ever since.
Deemed a deserter by his father Brian Maloney, (played by Max Gillies) Danny has stayed out of his father's grip and avoided the life of crime and violence given to his brothers. However it is Rose (played by Sara Gleeson) that has constructed the entire event. Desperate to meet her Grandfather and discover her family history, Rose intends to write down the story of their lives and find out about her own in the process.
What is discovered is more than Rose could have ever imagined as old family wounds are ripped apart and each member is required to share their battle scars. No-one is spared as family secrets are revealed, tears are shed and old arguments reappear in a flash of resentment and rage.
Each character is an honest interpretation of family pain and personal suffering and each deserves to be commended on their performance. Gillies' presence as the overbearing Brian is as terrifying as he is brilliant – clearly a man not to be ignored, he keeps the audience on their toes commanding the stage with his booming voice and distinct character.
Gleeson plays Rose with such affection and honesty that the fine line between sympathy and apathy is treaded ever so carefully as she takes the audience on Rose's journey. Her humanness keeps her beauty and humor in check, bringing her back down to earth with the rest of us.
Martin is exceptional in his role as Danny – he displays such a wide range of emotions with a single expression or a cigarette to his lips that not once would you doubt he really was an Irish/English/Australian struggling to overcome the effects left from the Vietnam War.
Kate Mulvany has given audiences her story and the three actors on stage have performed it with such honesty and respect in a truly moving piece of art. In keeping with the high standard the Melbourne Theatre Company has set, The Seed is well worth an evening of your time and will leave you wondering about your own family secrets stowed safely away in the back of your mind.
Melbourne Theatre Company presents
by Kate Mulvany
Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne | Fairfax Studio
Dates: 17 Feb – 4 April 2012