It’s magical that just like that we are back to the Bille Brown Theatre for the first time in 2020 and this week sees us privileged to have a full house here in Queensland.This is just as well because The Holidays is one of those plays that you can take the whole family along to. It’s a play for fathers, sons, grandfathers and anyone who has loved one… So, all of us really. It’s a gentle and funny nod to Australian families and our iconic beach lifestyle.
Written by David Megarrity and directed by Bridget Boyle, this lovely play won the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award for 2018-19. It’s the perfect play to welcome Queensland Theatre back into their home. It’s time to gather your friends and family and enjoy going on holiday with The Holidays.
SheSociety were thrilled to head along on Opening Night where we spied playwrights David Megarrity and the one and only David Williamson, Director Bridget Boyle, actor Andrea Moor, Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch and PR guru Kath Rose, who was being mesmerised by a sparkly jacket. In the foyer were scenes from 50 years of the theatre and Artistic Director, Lee Lewis excitedly welcomed us home on a bright, brilliant and balmy Brisbane evening.
The play begins with the Holiday family, Bob, Summer and Oliver, crowded into their Ute and heading to Grandad’s house at the beach. Puzzlingly, when they arrive Grandad is nowhere to be seen. Grandad is an eccentric artist, with a love for old records and the sea. His relationship with his son, Bob, is complicated. 12 year old Oliver is a gentle soul who believes he can write his own story. In this unkempt house filled with memories, it seems that the Holidays – instead of getting away from it all- have taken a lot with them.
This witty laugh out loud comedy/ drama is a feast for the senses, a wistful and funny journey combining live performance, music and cutting edge production. You’ll enjoy the soundtracks of our time and delight in hearing snatches of familiar tunes.The tender interactions between the family and Oliver’s poignant and infectious spirit of hope which is weaved throughout the story are delightful.
I spoke to David Megarrity who said, “ We all have memories of holidays at the beach and my inner child is never far away so I’ve written this play on two levels, so both young people and their parents will relate.”
Bridget Boyle and David both told me that they have assembled their dream team for the production of The Holidays. Making his debut for Queensland Theatre as Oliver Holiday is Matthew Ianna. Matthew is a student currently studying at Kelvin Grove State College. He has come through Queensland Theatre’s The Scene Project, showing the strong pathways of development open to Queenslanders in the Arts. He plays his role with a sure touch and a tender heart. You will feel for this good natured boy, on the cusp of being a teen, trying to navigate a confusing situation. The play is told from Oliver’s point of view and Matthew handles his first starring role with aplomb.
Bob Holiday is played by Queensland Theatre stalwart, Bryan Probets ( Hydra, Twelfth Night) who plays the laconic Bob with just the right amount of stoicism and worry. He’s the Aussie Dad who struggles to show and process his feelings. He is at times unsure of navigating his new circumstances, with bursts of anger and worry, topped up with love and a dusting of Dad humour.
The glue holding the family together is sensible Mum, Summer Holiday, played by Louise Brehmer ( The Longest Minute, Australia Day). Louise is your every Mum, getting the job done with little fuss, a dose of compassion and a sense of fun. Louise played the role in an easy, unforced and very believable way. Her Mum jokes were timed to perfection.
The Holidays reminds us of the complexity of families, in a time when families are spending more time together or are traumatised by having been forced apart. The weaving of drama, music and images is so well done in this play. The multi media approach evokes the senses to feel through art, music, audience participation and song. The simple yet effective set made me feel that I could smell the sea, sunscreen and fish and chips.
So many moments of this play will resonate with audiences. There was laughter and tears. I can think of no better way to escape our scorching Summer heat than to visit the dark and cool theatre and be immersed in the world of the loveable Holidays. The Holidays is on now and will be playing until 12th December. This lovely story is a poignant treat suitable for the whole family.
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).