Fringe review: Home Thoughts

In a production about Adelaide, put on by Adelaide artists, for Adelaide audiences, we witness a confronting exploration of whether our city is a constraint or a sanctuary. ★★★

Mar 01, 2022, updated Mar 02, 2022
Krystal Cave and Ren Williams play sisters Sarah and Clara in 'Home Thoughts'. Photo: Pamo Boutros

Krystal Cave and Ren Williams play sisters Sarah and Clara in 'Home Thoughts'. Photo: Pamo Boutros

Young people seem to love Adelaide the same way they love their family: it is a constant grapple between sense of affection and suffocation. As a result, the city’s biggest export is often said to be its young residents.

Adelaide CBD. Photo: Pamo Boutros

Home Thoughts, written and directed by local theatre-maker James Watson, examines why so many young people feel the need to leave Adelaide, and our complex relationship with home. This premise is explored through two sisters: Sarah (played by Krystal Cave) never leaves Adelaide, marries her high school boyfriend and becomes a teacher at her old school, while Clara (Ren Williams) has just returned home after studying at art school in Melbourne.

While Sarah and Clara have contrasting lives, both show how difficult self-discovery is in a city that doesn’t challenge you to grow, but instead presents an accessible pathway into suburban life.

The dynamic between the sisters is at its strongest in moments of tension, as you see the intricacies of familial love play out. Some opening-night jitters surfaced, but these will likely dissipate as the season progresses. Williams deserves particular praise in her role as Clara, as she highlights both comedy and sensitivity within the script, and balances this with the angst of a restless 20-something in Adelaide.

The set is simple, with a few props surrounding a white sheet in the centre of the Mainstage at the Bakehouse. This largely blank canvas enables the play to be brought to life by the mention of Adelaide hallmarks: FruChocs, McLaren Vale wine, brunch in Bowden, the Torrens River, and Saints old-scholars sitting out the front of the Exeter. Anyone who has spent a portion of their 20s in Adelaide is immediately able place themselves in the scenes of Home Thoughts.

Local audiences will find a lot to relate to within this production; they may also find it easy to get defensive about the characters and the themes playing out on stage.

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However, in typical Adelaide fashion, when you run into people you know while attending this show, and your conversations naturally echo quotes that you’ve just heard on stage – questions about where you went to school, or remarks about how the city comes alive during the Fringe – it becomes evident that Home Thoughts has powerfully identified many truths about the city and the people within it.

Home Thoughts is at the Bakehouse Theatre until March 5. 

Read more 2022 Adelaide Fringe stories and reviews here.


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