Directed by Lucy Clements
Red Line Productions
Old Fitz Theatre
168 Dowling Street, Woolloomooloo
Season: 23 May – 3 June
Everyone experiences periods of change. Whilst often unsettling, it is this discomfort that gives way to the greatest potential for growth. The Wind in the Underground explores the relationship between four siblings as the youngest, Simon, returns from his gap year to his siblings who are preparing to sell the family home. Crossing between the present day and their younger selves, what is pertinent about the production is the enduring familial bond more powerful than any difficulty they face.
The New Fitz program encourages writers to develop and stage new works – a warmly welcome program in my eyes. In the program, each New Fitz work is written in response to a main stage play at the Fitz. Sam O’Sullivan’s play is in response to Doubt. I don’t see a strong connection between the plays but I suppose that’s irrelevant – this is a fresh work in its own right.
Whilst the play is still in need of further dramaturgical development, there is a sincerity about the production, drawn out in Lucy Clements’ direction, that is very touching. Whitney Richards plays the second youngest sibling with tender earnestness, managing to engage the audience even without speaking. Rowan Davie captures feelings of youthful adventure and escape as Simon, with self-reflexive jokes about the Contiki tour culture for travelling Australians and the tendency for people to exaggerate the wild experiences they had during their ‘authentic experience of travel’. I think the play drags a little when the characters become fixated on the significance of the house. While I understand that a sense of place and ‘home’ can be very important to people, I was more interested in the active interpersonal relationships between the characters, as well as with their absent parental figures.
The Wind in the Underground explores authentic sibling relationships in the midst of extenuating circumstances. It doesn’t shy away from conflict and allows you to identify with one or a number of the characters at various points of the play. There’s room for development of the play, for sure, but with sensitivity, insight and humour, these make for sure ingredients of a winner.