By Sasha Meaney
When I sent my father the blurb of Seed Bomb his dry response was, “How Inner West of you.” He left the theatre wondering if he could move here. That’s the kind of optimism Seed Bomb will leave you with once the curtains are closed.
The premise is intriguing: Kat is tired of her life in the city and wants to live in a country estate where she can garden. One night she sleepwalks into a guerilla gardener on the street, Pax. He plants seed bombs in vacant lots, believing small beautiful acts of activism will encourage surprised civilians to be interested in environmental causes. Kat senses the stirring of her own potential so she joins him and his pal Gridlock on their mission.
Daniela Giorgi’s writing is very funny. Her detailed observation of how different groups in society speak shines throughout and delivers on the laughs. The script has thoroughly original set ups: ranging from biting, like financial advisory meetings being the most modern version of couples therapy, to absolute delight, like Gridlock turning the public library into a hive of crocheted bees.
The character work from the cast strikes the right balance between being comedically self aware and genuinely examining how the public talks about environmental issues and activism. Occasionally the tone stumbled as it moved away from the comedy and into honest truths of how self growth can change your closest relationships. This is to the exception of the sincerity shared between Gridlock and Kat. Their work together builds an unlikely friendship eventually resting on mutual learning and support.
Sonya Kerr does a marvellous job of evolving Kat from a wide eyed dreamer into a woman with rooted optimism and cause. Her enthusiasm and chemistry with the cast holds the show, and her willingness to engage prevents Kat from being seen as overly naive.
The show stealer is Kate Bookallil as feisty activist Gridlock. She has electric energy on stage that sets off the audience from her first entrance. Gridlock is a fascinating character, and I would happily watch a whole play dedicated to her. Bookallil plays her with utmost conviction, her eyes seem truly fixed in Gridlock’s feeling and even at her most aggressive you can’t help but like her for her passion.
The set designed by the production company Subtlenuance, seems to be an almost exact replica of the Old 505’s side entrance. It’s sparse with a wire fence to the side and a couple of construction blocks. In the first black out a bike rider sweeps in and “plants” the first flower. Over the length of the show the stage magically transforms into a fantastical flower bed. It’s a clever piece of theatre that brought childlike wonderment to the performance.
And indeed the show touches on that optimism we feel we’ve lost in the bustle of adulthood. It’s refreshing to see a “lost in your 30s” narrative that isn’t solved solely by relationships but by the protagonist questioning her dreams and learning how to practically honour them in her everyday life. Through Kat’s journey, Seed Bomb reminds us that making choices with clear intent and pride is an empowering act of self love.
Seed Bomb by Daniela Giorgi, produce by subtlenuance and Old 505 Freshworks, will be running until the 9th of March at the Old 505, Newtown. Tickets are available here.
Photo Credit: Matt Abotomey
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.