Review by Matthew Hocter
Being a teen in 90’s Adelaide was fraught with so much conflict. A lack of jobs, a nightlife that was incredibly limited and a future that seemed bleak, all made for a mass exodus of Adelaide’s youth. I was one of them. The trend seems to have waned somewhat since my exit (and subsequent return 25 years later), but the conflict that so many South Australians faced and continue to face with leaving everything familiar behind, especially their families and friends, is a story that has mostly gone untold.
Enter James Watson, a local writer and director whose latest offering, Home Thoughts, explores all of those things, with a strong focus on two sisters and just what “home” means to them. Older sister Sarah (Krystal Cave) has never left Adelaide, marries her highschool sweetheart and ends up becoming a teacher at her old school. Meanwhile, younger sister Clara’s (Ren Williams) time studying at a Melbourne art school has come to an end and the young twenty something finds herself back in Adelaide - reluctantly.
As any South Australian can attest to, individuality and self discovery have not been our strong points over the years. As both Sarah and Clara come to terms with their differences, they are also united in their desire (although different) to understand just what it means to call somewhere “home.” Both actors give good performances with Williams' portrayal of Clara coming off more authentic and unforced.
The SA references are in abundance and littered throughout the play. Things like fruchocs, bumping into someone you know no matter where you are, The Exeter and everyone’s favourite “Where did you go to school?,” make for theatre that is clearly made by us, about us and for us - something that is very rarely done. At times the cliches did seem a bit overdone, but like anything to do with a cliche, there is usually some truth to it.
Home Thoughts looks at the complexities and the love/hate relationship so many of us have with home, whilst touching on the all too taboo truths that we don’t like to talk about, including the people itself. I wanted this to resonate more with me, especially given this was very much a lived experience for me and so many others. But for some reason, it didn’t and to be brutally honest, I am not sure why.
Home Thoughts? Maybe.