On my first visit to the Pymble Players, I felt like I had discovered a special place. The front of house volunteers provided a warm welcome, and the foyer was wonderfully warm and cozy—a delightful reprieve from the freezing cold outside. This was my first sign that I was in for a wonderful night of theatre.
For Pymble Players production of Things I Know To Be True, director Racquel Boyd has assembled a fantastically talented group of actors who drew me in to the dynamics of the Price family from start to finish. The actors moved seamlessly from lengthy monologue to fast-paced dialogue, right back to lengthy monologue.
We first meet the children of the Price family. Nicole Dimitriadis did a fantastic job as Rosie, the baby of the family. Onstage for most of the show, Dimitriadis had a natural chemistry with her fellow actors that was beautiful to watch, and her reactions in the background of scenes were spot on. The next youngest, Ben, was played with beautiful nuance by Blake Michael Paish. Paish embodied the character of the imposter trying to break into a world he could never be a part of with spectacular energy and flawless stagecraft.
Mitchel Doran approached the role of Mark with sensitivity and crafted a heartfelt performance. He left his heart out on the stage in the final scene of Act One and I just wanted to reach out and hug him. The eldest child, Pip, played by Tonia Davis, portrayed the struggle of the least favourite child. She showed the restraint of a daughter, itching but unable to share her true self with her mother until the safety of a letter emboldened her to speak up.
The patriarch of the Price family, Bob, played by Bob Guest, was the father many of us grew up with. Quick to tell a joke and just as quick to stick his foot in it, Guest did a fantastic job showcasing the depth of love he had for his family. He had a wonderful chemistry with his children, and his final scenes were absolutely heartbreaking to watch. Guest's performance was marked by incredible restraint until, finally, he exploded into a flurry of anger and despair at the cruel hand he and his family had been dealt.
But the emotional glue that held the family and the production together was Judy Jankovic's mother, Fran. She took the audience on an emotional roller coaster, and we felt every blow to her beloved family right with her. Jankovics had a keen understanding of the role of Fran within the family structure and played this to perfection. She and Guest as Bob were utterly convincing in their portrayal of a long-married couple and the troubles they faced.
Boyd has assembled an incredible team, and it is reflected in the quality of the production. Set design by Natalie Boyd, lighting design by Ian Ackland and Wayne Chee, and sound design by Geoff Jones were great cherries on top of the production. A special shoutout to the gate, which was both beautiful and used effectively by Cast for entrances and exits, and the roses, which showed the progression of time.
This show is not to be missed. 4 out of 5 roses from Bob Price's rose garden.
Photos courtesy of Daniel Ferris.