It is everything you’ve come to expect out of Red Line Productions at the Old Fitz, and yet still a complete delight and thrill to witness; I Hate You My Mother begun it’s run on Tuesday and hit the ground sprinting. The show captures you from the moment you sit down and takes you along a generational journey that resembles a 1000 piece puzzle than a linear sequence. While the show can be difficult to follow at times, be assured that by the end there are dots connected and those that aren’t make for fantastic conversation.

Immeasurable credit goes to Composer and Sound Designer Nate Edmondson who held the pace, emotions and excitement of the play at a sensory level the entire show. Every moment was filled with deliberate audio (or lack of) and it complimented all other show aspects without losing its own marvel. Tyler Ray Hawkins and Martin Kinnane (Set Designer and Lighting Designer respectively) worked cohesively to create an eerie and open world for the events in the play, creating spaces and moments that alluded to the faith and barren elements each character fought. In regards to the lighting in particular, it was expertly used for not only symbolism, but was ingeniously utilised to add clarity for audiences lost in moments and confused during the stories. I, for one, was grateful on many occasions for that. Tyler Ray Hawkins was also responsible for designing the costumes which seamlessly completed the play’s satisfying aesthetic and practicality.

From her brain to the stage, Jeanette Cronin exhibits an enchanting genius and professionalism in the show she has written and starred in. There was not a single moment of weakness in her performance, a strong and flawed woman through out, and the exact type of theatre Australia is yearning for. The writing is clearly thick with intelligence and deep context, which always requires a level of eloquence and magnetism in performance to hold audience attention. Cronin held that curiosity in the palm of her hand and refused to settle anything quickly, drawing out every question in the audience’s mind, as if she had the air you needed to breathe and would only give when you needed it, and she knew exactly when that was.  The entire show is a testament to her talent and credits. Alongside her is co-lead Simen Glømmen Bostard, an incredibly transformational and dramatic talent. Their chemistry changed in each timeline but was invariably strong and watchable. Bostard’s strongest moments were in his reactions and subtleties that made it impossible to look away and fall out of a moment.  He skilfully played the quintessential man who is unknowingly at the whims of a mother-figure and unable to change his fate, which varies for each man but is inescapable regardless.

The steady and authoritative hand of Director Kim Hardwick is visible in the adept level of excellence and fitting flow of the performance as a whole. She has provided a clear and encapsulating message that lines the edges of every moment, and is mentioned by Cronin’s Lady Makepeace; some are not destined to be happy, and are left only able to search out whatever pleasures they can to dull the pain of living that life. Undoubtedly dark and mature, I Hate You My Mother is an incredible start to the Old Fitz’s 2017 season, and best experienced with an open mind and a drink.

 

Sabrina Stubbs – Theatre Now & Talking Arts