New Works for New Audiences. "Come Out" 2003. Australian Festival for Young People. [review]
Bramwell, Murray Ross
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The 2003 Come Out program, compiled by Artistic Director Sally Chance, has stronger and more varied theatre offerings than we have seen in some time. This is, in part, because of the presence of two works from the freshly established and well-supported "Windmill Productions" - under the capable stewardship of Cate Fowler, now a leading figure both nationally and on the international children’s theatre circuit. It is also because the vexed area of repertoire for adolescents has been well served with presentations from "Fresh Track Productions" and emerging local company "Budgie Lung". Coinciding with the twentieth anniversary of the Ash Wednesday tragedy, "Bushfire", a new work commissioned by the Festival Centre Trust, is based on two books by Marguerite Hann Syme, whose own family lost everything in the fires. Directed by Alyson Brown, the cast of four - Michael Finney and Amber McMahon as two young children, and Justin Moore and Astrid Pill as their frazzled parents - present a family under stress, caught on the day of the emergency in different parts of town. With spirited comedy and sharp detail the actors capture the often fractious aspects of domestic interaction. Finney and McMahon move readily between the intensities of imaginative play and the anxieties of isolation while Moore and Pill present a realistic account of a marriage under pressure.