The Mirror News

FAMDA shines a light on dark times

PEOPLE who lived through the Great Depression of 1929-32 will find the latest production from the Foster Amateur Music & Drama Association (FAMDA) rekindles memories. For anyone else, ‘Foreigners from Home’ is wonderfully illuminating, shedding light on what it was like for a family struggling through the 1930s in rural Australia.

The play was written several years ago by Chris Dickins, who recently moved to Foster, and this production is directed by the playwright himself, with his partner, Annette Walker, as stage manager.

Tying in neatly with FAMDA’s celebrations this year of 60 years of local theatre, ‘Foreigners from Home’ centres on the memories of Elizabeth (played by Dianne Paragreen) looking back 60 years from 1990 to her childhood in the 1930s.

Family life, with its fun and its sorrows, is brought to life by a cast of all ages, some (like Di Paragreen) with much more experience than others on the stage, but without exception the acting is excellent. Norm Willoughby, who plays Arthur (Captain) Kidd, the grandfather, is well-known to local theatre-goers, as is Bruce Grainger, who plays Walter, and Jo Street, Walter’s wife Marion. They can always be relied upon to do a great job.

The real stars of the show, however, are youngsters Harley McDonald-Eckersall (as young Elizabeth) and Leuca Maclean (Fitzgerald), very convincing as feisty sister and mischievous brother. They are called upon to run the full gamut of emotions in their performances, and do so with great aplomb, leaving the audience deeply moved.

Musical numbers from the 1930s, together with a script sprinkled liberally with expressions in the idiom of the day and a set featuring a faded cottage, complete with veranda, add to the period atmosphere.

This is a fine play, at the same informative and affecting. FAMDA is to be congratulated for tackling such a challenging piece of theatre and carrying it off so successfully.

‘Foreigners from Home’ is now showing at the Foster War Memorial Arts Centre. Tickets can be purchased from Main Street Revelations (tel. 0400 867 872). Bargain hunters can purchase tickets for the Thursday (October 3) show for $16 each. Otherwise, ticket prices are $22 (adults) or $18 (concession) for 8pm shows on Friday and Saturday, October 4 and 5, and for the matinee show at 2pm on Sunday (October 6). Get along and support your local theatre – and help FAMDA celebrate 60 years of quality productions.

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