Presented by Patch of Blue
Reviewed 15 February 2020
This original play, written, designed and directed by Alex Howarth, is based on real events and was developed around conversations with young people in care in the UK. Cassie, the eldest sister at 17, is played by Alex Brain while the younger sisters, Tin, aged 11, are played by Michaela Murphy with Kit, aged 8 played by Emily McGlynn. All three young women give powerful and moving performances while remaining true to their ‘age’ – Kit is obsessed with her frog hat which is her comfort blanket.
The play opens with Tin giving a TED style talk on triple star systems which have two stars orbiting close together and one further away which gives the whole system stability. This serves as a metaphor for the relationships of the three sisters who have been left alone by their mother. As Cassie struggles to be mother to her sisters, we hear the voice of a teacher telling her she will fail if she doesn’t hand in an animation project and her friend Donna excitedly telling her about being accepted for a Summer School they were both going to apply for.
Audience engagement is a key element in the production with Tin questioning someone about who is in their family – making the point that there are all kinds of families as the girls discover when they are fostered by an older childless couple. Cassie challenges the couple’s desire to adopt the younger girls in court, arguing she can look after them herself even if this means abandoning her hopes of going to university.
Although the play is dark at times and moved me to tears, the love between the sisters and the humour they display offer flashes of light which demonstrate the resilience of the human spirit and the tenacity of Cassie in wanting to keep her fractured family intact.
Patch of Blue have again brought a not to be missed, imaginative production to the Adelaide Fringe.
Reviewed by Jan Kershaw
Rating out of 5: 5
Venue: The Little Theatre, University of Adelaide
Season: 15 Feb to 15 March, except Mondays
Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: $20 to $26