Monday, 6 July 2009


2/7/09, Almeida

Missed the beginning, which meant I didn't realise the last scene was a kind of repeat of the first. The 1950s father was a paedophile; when his wife discovered the awful truth he went to Australia and sent postcards to his son, who never learnt the truth from his mother (with whom he had a poisoned relationship in adulthood). So he went to Australia and met a girl whose brother had been abducted and murdered on the beach. And they fell in love and went to Ayers Rock and then he died in a car crash. And she grew up to marry a very decent cove, and we saw them in middle age, she suffering Alzheimer's, he desperate because he knew she didn't really love him, and their son had gone off who knew where. And the son was is in the final scene as the father who was visited by his son (by whom? we never discover), who at last broke the cycle of misery and drought by a reconciliation with his father, and at last it began to rain.

And there was a fish fell out of the sky.

Writing this weeks later, D and A and I struggled to reconstruct all that. Scenes from all four periods/generations were interwoven, played out on the same set, sometimes with characters from different periods overlapping, eating soup, echoing dialogue. It was written by Andrew Bovell, who also wrote the screenplays for Lantana and Strictly Ballroom.

It was mesmerising. It shouldn't have worked but it did. I thought up until the very last scene that it was going to leave us with a very bleak message indeed about the sins of the fathers; but it didn't, and the ending, which might have seemed force, was in fact tremendously moving. Tears welled up.

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