Theatre Review: This is Where We Live

An award winning script that presents a highly engaging and occasionally very funny story, brave enough not to shy away from some very heavy subject matters.

Photo: My Wonderland Photography

Photo: My Wonderland Photography

Presented by State Theatre Company & HotHouse Theatre
Reviewed 12 May 2015

With a theme that tackles topics such as bullying, child abuse, neglect and depression you might expect that This is Where We Live will be an intense, dark and perhaps disheartening hour. However Vivienne Walshe has achieved, with this award winning script, a highly engaging and occasionally very funny story, which is brave enough not to shy away from some very heavy subject matters.

Chloe has not finished high school yet but has already accepted that her bleak future promises a lot of challenges, including loneliness, poverty and the type of employment that probably involves taking off your clothes. That is until she meets Chris and they strike up an unlikely relationship. The pair finally find some empathy and understanding and Chloe dares to dream of a better life.

James Smith is superb as the goofy and love struck Chris and beautifully captures the awkwardness of a teenage boy experiencing his first crush while still finding sincerity for the more serious sections of the script. Matilda Bailey gives an impressive and heart wrenching performance as the abrasive Chloe, the girl who is afraid to hope for the future and who has forgotten what it feels like to be loved or cared for.

The technical aspects of this production are excellent too. Robb Scott’s lighting works well with Morag Crook’s set, which consists of a drainage pipe in a dried creek bed. This simple single structure provides the perfect setting; broken, twisted, hard, cold and yet somehow sometimes just a playground. Andrew Howard’s soundscape adds to the atmosphere with macabre sounds that subtly prompt thoughts of suicide.

Tightly Directed by Jon Halpin, This is Where We Live is an ideal production for high school students, with plenty of relevant subject matter to explore and some excellent opportunities for self-evaluation and acceptance too.

Reviewed by Ceri Horner
Twitter: @CeriHorner

Venue: Space Theatre Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: 12 – 16 May 2015
Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: $19.00 – $37.00
Bookings: 131246

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