The Children

Hazel and Robin, retired nuclear scientists, live in a small cottage, situated just outside an area which had been contaminated by an accident at their nuclear plant. Yoga and gardening, and the lives of their adult children now make up their simple life, a life to be challenged by the appearance of Rose (Tina Bursill), a colleague whom they have not seen for thirty eight years.

As Hazel (Genevieve Mooy) twitters and waffles about her bemused visitor there is sparse indication, although enough, of the tension which builds to the climax of the play. Robin (Terence Crawford) who returns from his outdoor activities to join the women in the small kitchen turns the dial up a few notches. It would seem that there is more to this meeting than a  reunion of old work-mates.

We see unease and tension between the three, relating to earlier relationships. There is a stronger tension when the real purpose for Rose’s visit is revealed. In her script, Lucy Kirkwood, has crafted a subtle and complex story. The humanity, foibles and weaknesses of the three characters are laid out for the audience. A question asked of them at the end of the play is one which could be asked of many people today. 

Music may enhance or distract from a drama. Here, as the story unfolds with light and shade, the music, composed and recorded by Belinda Gehlert, mirrors  these changes effectively. Never obtrusive, never understated, just right.The technical crew, set designer Victoria Lamb, and lighting designer Nic Mollison have created the slightly claustrophobic life of Hazel and Robin in their rustic home. 

Special praise must be given to he three actors who are uniformly excellent. Their command of the script highlights the complexity of the story while never losing the reality that these are three people who have a shared an uneasy past relationship.

The Director Cory McMahon is to be congratulated for bringing The Children home so successfully. 

At the Dunstan Playhouse until 17 February

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