Theatre Review: Humble Boy

Presented by Adelaide Repertory Theatre (aka The Rep)
Reviewed 18 November 2021

Written by Charlotte Jones, this play is a confusing look at relationships and their inherent problems. Focusing on Felix, a Theoretical Astrophysicist who has returned home for his father’s funeral, the story examines the strained relationship with his mother. We also get to see the complex connection between Flora, his mother and her lover/fiancé George. Further layers are added by the previous failed partnership of Felix with George’s daughter, Rosie. Wandering in and out of these exposes are the wise gardener Jim and the insipid family fiend Mercy, observing and commenting.

Billed as a bitter-sweet comedy it has more serious moments than expected and the comedy is sparse, except for the dinner scene which garnered the most laughs of the night. Nick Endenburg as Felix was a suitably distracted science type not understood by his egocentric mother, played by Celine O’Leary with some sympathy. The larger than life (and somewhat obnoxious) George is portrayed by Christopher Leech with gusto, grating on all the other characters at times. The most likeable character, and the easiest to relate to, is Rosie and Phoebe Wilson gives this character all the depth she requires.

Rhonda Grill gives an excellent performance as Mercy the family friend who hangs around like a bad smell, always downtrodden and seeking sympathy. Brian Knott is the unassuming gardener, Jim, who has more influence than merely caring for the flowers and understanding the bees.

Director Kerrin White has designed a beautiful set and the usual technical expertise of people like Richard Parkhill, Ray Trowbridge and others contribute to a polished production which ends up a little slow in places.

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

Venue: Arts Theatre
Season: 18-27 November 2021
Duration: 2.5hrs
Tickets: $24 – $28

Bookings: https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing?eid=758040&

Photo Credit: Richard Parkhill

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