This is an intergenerational story which deals with the devastating effects of hardscrabble poverty, そして、その結果として来るすべて, 痛みをシュガーコーティングせずに. 執拗にザラザラと見事に実行, it is both ambitious kitchen sink drama and state of the nation play in one, refracting intertwined themes of social deprivation, criminality and police injustice through a single family in ニューサウスウェールズ州, オーストラリア.
Alana Valentine’s script focuses mainly on the Macreadie clan’s women who are rough, tough and argumentative, with matriarch June (Janine Ulfane) at the helm. She is eaten up by the fear that the petty criminality that has accompanied her early family life will be carried through to the next generation as “bad blood”. This fear is inflamed when her son Olli (Adam Fitzgerald) is imprisoned: “I ran away from it," 彼女が言います, “and found out it’s hiding in my hair, my clothes …”
The drama circles around one building in Pyrmont, in Sydney, a 1960s sugar factory which has been turned into trendy apartments by 2007. The plot hinges on gentrification but this feels like a flimsy framing device more than a theme. それにもかかわらず, the sprawl of time is covered deftly by director Tom Brennan and set designer Justin Nardella who work with a small stage, using a few bits of furniture and a back screen to nimble effect.
Unvarnished and enraged characters are roughly drawn, from the hard-as-nails June to her resentful daughter Margo (Fiona Skinner) and confused granddaughter Narelle (Jessica Zerlina Leafe). If the characters do not always have enough texture to them, a phenomenal cast evoke their pain and pathos, sometimes doubling up in roles and bringing some very difficult moments alive – from Leafe’s performance as an eight-year-old to Margo’s death from cancer, searingly performed by Skinner.
There are some wonderful moments in this hard, passionate and unsentimental play although it falls into making occasional speeches on its themes. The talk of bad blood is over-egged but becomes a metaphor for attempting to escape the greater restrictions placed on dispossessed lives. The women here achieve that through activism. While the play never romanticises this side of their lives, it does bring some catharsis through their struggles.