Lamb: A New Play with Songs is uplifting theatre

A review of the stage performance Lamb, which features songs written by Mark Seymour.

Author:  Andrew Fuhrmann, Herald Sun.

Date: 22 November 2018.

Original URL:


Article Text

Lamb: A New Play with Songs, by Jane Bodie

When and Where: Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre, until 16 December

Reviewer: Andrew Fuhrmann

Stars: three and half

Jane Bodie’s moving, albeit rather homely, new play set is about three adult siblings trying to get straight the tangle of their shared history and figure out what to do with the family farm.

The cast is led by the brilliant Brigid Gallacher as the sister who left home to become a famous musician. Simon Maiden is well cast as the guitar-strumming brother who also dreams of musical stardom and Emily Goddard is refreshingly unmannered as the mentally impaired older sister.

Lamb is ornamented with original songs by Mark Seymour that have a kind of raw country sweetness that suits the story well. The former Hunters & Collectors frontman is one of a growing list of Aussie rock legends who have recently lent their talents to the theatre, including Neil Finn, Tim Rogers and Colin Hay.

Admittedly, this tale of a brother and his sisters patching up their relationship can feel a bit worn and strained. Annie left to pursue a career in the big smoke while Patrick stayed on to look after their parents. His resentments and her explanations are more or less what you’d expect.

Is that why the first half of the show is told in reverse order? A way of dressing up mutton as what you will? There’s no other obvious reason for this bit of dramaturgic cleverness that adds so little to the play’s thematic development.

You wonder if a less pretentious or at least more direct telling of the first act might have worked as well.

Still, it’s an affecting piece of work. Lamb is a melodrama in the best sense of the word, a play where music transforms narrative sentimentality into something with genuine poignancy. And whatever the play’s limitations, the ultimate uplift is irresistible.