Nancy Palk, as Hazel, and Joseph Ziegler, playing Robin, star in The Children, written by Lucy Kirkwood and playing at the Belfry Theatre now through Oct. 13. Photo by David Cooper

REVIEW: The Children not depressing, despite nuclear fallout theme

Belfry Theatre production well acted; story asks important questions, writes Sheila Martindale

By Sheila Martindale

Monday Magazine reviewer

Hazel is a super career person, a super homemaker, a super mom – a good all-round achiever. Rose is somewhat opposite although she, too, works hard at her career.

Robin, Hazel’s husband, is the guy who has loved them both and perhaps still does. Joseph Ziegler, as Robin, handles this role with a mixture of resignation and bonhomie – perfect!

The Children opens in a cottage on the English coast and it very soon becomes apparent that there has been a disaster at the local nuclear power plant, where all three had been employed.

The big scare is cancer. Hazel lives as healthy a life as possible – she is a firm believer in yoga. Rose carries on, hoping for the best. The play centres around the tension between these two women, both very ably played by Nancy Palk and Brenda Robins.

The bombshell comes later, when Rose announces she is going back to work in the plant, to relieve some of the younger workers, who have wives and young families. She is collecting names and hopes to encourage other older or retired employees to join her. People at the latter end of their lives who would normally be much closer to death anyway.

Despite the somewhat grim-sounding subject matter, this is not a depressing play. It is serious, but there are moments of levity as well. Playwright Lucy Kirkwood has posed some questions about one generation’s responsibility to those that follow, but has not pointed any fingers nor shouted any rants. It is, I suppose, ironic that Rose, with her devil-may-care attitude, is the one of the trio of characters who wants to do something to fix the problem. Even though we see some nasty evidence of the damage already done, The Children ultimately leaves one with a sense of hope.

There is some question about who the children of the title are. Robin and Hazel have four, but we don’t know anything about them except for the eldest, who is 38. So the title probably refers to younger people in general.

Christina Poddubiuk’s set design is excellent, representing exactly what it is intended to be, suggesting impermanence and being on the cusp of something not defined. Michael Shamata has brought his usual deft touch and incredible sense of timing and staging to this thought-provoking piece of theatre. Bravo all round!

The Children runs at the Belfry until Oct. 13. For tickets call 250-388-6815 or visit belfry.bc.ca.



editor@mondaymag.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Belfry TheatreTheater Review

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Premier John Horgan and Rob Douglas, BC NDP candidate for Cowichan Valley, meet with Cowichan First Nation elders, as they demonstrate spearfishing along the river. (Submitted)
Horgan acknowledges A&E sector hit hard by COVID-19, but showing signs of recovery

Hollywood North doing better than Hollywood South, Horgan says

The Sid Williams Theatre marquee is once again proudly displaying upcoming events. Photo supplied
Courtenay’s Sid Williams Theatre reopening in a limited capacity

Theatre has been closed since March due to COVID-19

Kent Laforme looks through the sound tunnel, or visual portal, carved inside the 25,000-pound marble sculpture that could be installed at Cattle Point. (Screen Shot, Oakbay.ca video)
Kent Laforme looks through the sound tunnel, or visual portal, carved inside the 25,000-pound marble sculpture that could be installed at Cattle Point. (Screen Shot, Oakbay.ca video)
Stone Takaya sculpture could soon ‘howl’ at Cattle Point

Oak Bay inviting public suggestions for 25,000-pound marble sculpture

Nanaimo-based ceramic artist Joe Lyons is presenting his first solo exhibition, ‘Poppin Bottles Soda Distraction,’ at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts from Oct. 26 to Nov. 12. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-based ceramic artist showcases variety of bottles in first solo show

Joe Lyons presents ‘Poppin Bottles Soda Distraction’ at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts

Toronto poet Robert Priest is presenting an online reading on Oct. 24. (Photo courtesy Allen Booth)
Nanaimo spoken word society presents online reading by prolific Toronto poet

Robert Priest to dip into 40-year catalogue for upcoming Zoom reading

Nanaimo singer Elise Boulanger releases her new single, ‘Cigarettes et rosé’ on Oct. 11. (Photo courtesy Laura Baldwinson)
Nanaimo singer releasing new single inspired by overheard conversations

Elise Boulanger to unveil ‘Cigarettes et rosé,’ accompanying ukulele tutorial video to come

Lee Porteous will be one of the performers at the Duncan Showroom’s storytelling event later this month. (Photo Submitted)
Duncan Showroom hosts storytellers series

Monthly shows will be broadcast live on YouTube

The 2020 City of Victoria Youth Poet Laureate Neko Smart will give up her seat for the next young poet in January. (Contributed/ Jeremy Loveday)
Nominations open for Victoria’s 2021 Youth Poet Laureate

Honourary one-year term reserved for region’s emerging poets

Joëlle Rabu and Nico Rhodes present No Regrets, a live-streamed and in-person show featuring the songs of French singer Édith Piaf at the Port Theatre on Oct. 17. (Photo courtesy Vital Image)
Nanaimo mother-son duo pay tribute to Édith Piaf in Nanaimo

Vocalist Joëlle Rabu and pianist and arranger Nico Rhodes present ‘No Regrets’ show Oct. 17

Most Read