Here's what the critics had to say about The Bleeding Tree during its premiere season at Griffin Theatre.
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD by Jason Blake
"Melbourne writer Angus Cerini's play, which collected the Griffin Award for New Australian Playwriting in 2014, is a short but potent piece, equal parts murder ballad and revenge thriller. […]
Director Lee Lewis, designer Renee Mulder, composer Steve Toulmin and lighting designer Verity Hampson fashion a visually striking and aurally rich production around Cerini's words. Arundell, Sebbens and Dodds, working on a steeply raked and pleated stage that keeps them off-balance or pitched forward most of the time, are spellbinding as his outback Furies.
Whatever your instincts are regarding the roughness of the justice meted out you will find yourself powerfully swayed."
THE AUSTRALIAN by John McCallum
"This shocking and exhilarating play is about a beautiful murder. […]
It is beautiful, and challenging, because this killing feels so right. […]
It is beautiful, too, because Angus Cerini’s wonderful script is so powerfully lyrical. […]
Paula Arundell, as the mother, and Airlie Dodds and Shari Sebbens, as the daughters, play all this superbly. Arundell, particularly, is magnificent as a woman who has suffered so much and is now finally taking control of her life and defending her children. […]
They say it takes a village to raise a child. This excellent production suggests that it also takes a village to kill a bastard."
THE GUARDIAN by Alexandra Spring
"As the mother, Arundell commands the stage, alternately self-possessed when cornered and giddy with relief at the end of their suffering. […]
The Griffin run is the show’s first, but the play’s themes and inherent theatricality must surely ensure its longevity. Other audiences should get to experience it, for this is is powerful, visceral and deeply exhilarating theatre – just as it should be."
DAILY REVIEW by Ben Neutze
"Director Lee Lewis’ production is entirely in step with Cerini’s writing, matching it for poeticism and sheer impact. It’s simple but simmering with tension, embracing the darkness of the whole scenario. […]
The performances are all astonishing and forceful, led by Paula Arundell as the mother working to hold it together for herself and her daughters, and understand exactly what her role is in the new family set up. It’s a character which comes to life vividly in the raspy warmth of Arundell’s distinctive voice. […]
It’s a rare thing for every element of a production to converge in this fashion. The combined effect is thrilling."
The Bleeding Tree, 9 Mar – 8 Apr 2017, Wharf 1 Theatre
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Photos: Brett Boardman