Holden Street Theatres, Thu 3 May
There are many issues at play here in this work by Australian writer Hilary Bell. Nine year old Lizzie sits somewhere on the autism spectrum. Her parents are separated and she has to fight hard to earn their attention. A minor shoplifting incident results in her being bullied by the local cop who decides to dish out his own brand of tough love before she is sent home to her single mum.
As it later becomes clear that Lizzie may have done something more sinister her parents start to question their worth as parents. They struggle to accept that they may have raised a child who is a little twisted, and that they may be in some way responsible. Or are some people simply born bad, they wonder?
Shannon Gray as the 9-year-old Lizzie is the undoubted star of the show. Her quirky confused demeanour is totally believable. Her parents (Heather Crawford and Lyndon Cullen-Reid) do a good job of exploring their strained but still somewhat affectionate relationship. Damien White as the local policeman has a challenging role. He is to be both enforcer of the law and the moral code it embodies, and a man who ultimately is a bit of a softy. The role allows for occasional dark humour and he could possibly make more of this comic potential.
While Wolf Lullaby addresses multiple significant issues of contemporary life none of them get the more in-depth exploration that each of them warrants. That said, it is an entertaining work that offers its cast ample opportunity to develop their characters and the relationships between them. That is the play’s strength.
Wolf Lullaby continues at Holden Street Theatres, at various times, until Sat 12 May.
Book at holdenstreettheatres.com. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.