We have all at times wanted to strangle a member of our own family. Right? If so, then The Omission of the Coleman Family should prove to be somewhat cathartic.
This production, presented by Metanoia Theatre, is in fact the Australian premiere performance of Claudio Tolcachir’s Argentinian smash-hit comedy.
What is refreshing about this piece is that there is no holding back. The characters seem to exist in a perpetually infantile state of consciousness, acting on the slightest impulse and reacting passionately to any provocation. This is a family trapped within their own tormented existence. The only sane and calming influence seems to be the matriarch of the family, Grandma.
The actors in this play commit wholeheartedly to their characters. They embrace the idiosyncrasies, finding the depth and humanity within. Although each character is, quite frankly, stark-raving-mad, it is hard not to feel a certain amount of compassion for them. There is something relatable and genuine about each performance. I doff my hat to each of the actors in this production.
The family at the centre of this play endure life in their own self-constructed microcosm of chaos, violence, and love. Although they are deeply dysfunctional, they genuinely try their best to look after each other. I’m not quite sure how they have managed to survive up until this point, but I have no doubts that they will continue to battle on, picking each other up when they are down — but not before kicking them in the stomach first.
Let’s be honest, spending time with your family isn’t always a barrel of laughs, and this is not a play that will have you rolling around in the aisles. The subject matter is dark, it is cynical, but it is undoubtedly familial, and thus it is very familiar.
Jen is a Kiwi currently living in Melbourne. She loves embroidery, Stephen Fry, and things that make her think.
The Omission of the Coleman Family runs 12-22 April 2017, 8pm (90mins) at the Metanoia Theatre in the Mechanics Institute, 270 Sydney Road, Brunswick. Buy tickets online.
Read The Plus Ones’ guide to MICF 2017, and visit often to see all our reviews.