The play The Plant by Kit Brookman is a tight plot of ninety minutes. Sue (Sandy Gore) has recently become a widow and she has invited her three children to help her dispose of her deceased husband's possessions. Perhaps they might even have a desire to treasure some of them? Or fill the myriad boxes she has acquired to dispose of them.
We meet the children: Erin (Helen Dallimore), Naomi (Briallen Clarke) and Daniel (Garth Holcombe) and we quickly learn that the three of them are irritated about spending their time engaged in this activity . Their selfishness is displayed in their narcissistic attitudes to being asked to do something they don't want to do. The interactions between the three siblings is brittle - bordering on sarcastic.
Their mother Sue is disappointed in their behaviour: Their lack of consideration for their mother is palpable but she is silent and holds tight onto her grief.
Subsequent solo visits from the children are reruns of the same lack of self-awareness from the children with an additional slant. Erin decides that her mother may be 'losing it' and ventures into an impatient attack on her mother weighted with the suggestion that she may be in the stage of dementia onset when she observes her mother engage in a lucid conversation with a house plant. At her next visit Erin finds a young woman in the house with her mother dressed from head to toe as a plant and enjoying a very friendly interaction with her mother.
The play writing lacked substantial dialogue for Sue to give us any insight about her character: her attitudes, what she believed in, and her values, her relationship with her husband or any consideration of how she felt upon his loss from her life. The consummate actor Sandy Gore had nothing to work with. I'm not convinced that the director had a grip on the play's strengths. If she did they were not displayed in her direction of the cast.
The star of the performance was Emma Russell - the costume maker who brilliantly turned Michele Lim Davidson into a very exotic plant.
The Plant is on at Ensemble Theatre, Kirribilli, until Saturday August 5th.