Jane Bodie’s Lamb is not a revolutionary or even an unfamiliar feeling piece of work, it’s simply beautiful storytelling. Written, composed, directed, designed and performed by three flawless and inseparably outstanding actors; every aspect of this production feels as though all associated collectively unearthed its soul and orientated all its elements in the identical direction.
The story of one family on an Australian sheep farm, Lamb is an evocative, poignant and stirring exploration of intergenerational trauma, the consequences of leaving and the costs associated with staying.
The realness of these characters and their predicaments are beautifully underpinned by mesmerising and narratively imperative songs written specifically for the piece by Mark Seymour – best known for his work with Australian band Hunters and Collectors.
This is an intrinsically Australian story but equally universal in that its scope extends so intelligently beyond the parochial. Lamb highlights just how good, good writing can be with an authenticity of dialogue that is gratifyingly familiar yet not reliant on flag raising jingoistic cliché.
The standard of performance here is so phenomenally good that, as stated, these actors feel almost impossible to separate. Simon Maiden amplifies optimism and disappointment as both father and son in a perfectly understated honest performance and with a voice this good, I was surprised not to see more musicals in his credits. Brigid Gallacher also taking on dual roles is beautifully still as mother and daughter and delivers each line with such flawless authenticity she simply wasn’t acting. Giving each character a subtle variation of soulful singing, she brought additional richness to excellent material. Emily Goddard is astonishingly good as intellectually disabled and first-born daughter Kathleen. Physically and vocally measured, this is a profoundly sensitive yet far from sentimental portrayal of a character possessing absolute awareness of limitation yet insightful in her capacity to participate in questions about her future and a place to belong.
Developed through the Red Stitch Ink program and presented in association with Playwriting Australia’s creative script-development scheme Ignition, Lamb is an exceptional example of the worth of such programs in providing the essential resources to ensure the ongoing development of quality Australian writing,
One more time – beautifully written, composed, directed, designed and performed, this is absolutely the calibre of work I have come to expect from Red Stitch.
Lamb feels like a privilege and it will long linger as an absolute heart-warming joy.
Red Stitch presents
by Jane Bodie | music and lyrics Mark Seymour
Directed by Julian Meyrick
Venue: Red Stitch Theatre | Rear 2 Chapel St, St Kilda VIC
Dates: 13 November – 13 December 2018
Tickets: $15 – $55
Bookings: (03) 9533 8083 | www.redstitch.net