Adelaide and South Australia's premier Arts & Entertainment coverage

REVIEW: Welcome To Your New Life

Review by Markus Hamence – Performance, Opening Night, Tuesday 14 November 2023

The State Theatre Company of South Australia has delivered us a sensationally flawless season for 2023. They begin to wrap it all up for the year with the offering of the play Welcome To Your New Life by Anna Goldsworthy.

“When Anna, a pianist and perfectionist, falls pregnant with her first child, her excitement is tempered by the daunting journey ahead. She shares the dizzying wonder and crippling anxiety that comes with creating new life. Should she indulge her craving for sausage after sixteen years of not eating meat? Will her birth plan involve Enya or hypnosis, or neither? And just how worried should she be about her baby falling into a composting toilet?

From the word go it was very obvious that there were two type of audience in attendance for the performance. Those who have never had children. AND those who HAVE. It didn’t matter what camp you belonged in, it was a hilarious, provoking at times and very touching play as we saw the cast explore birth, life, composting toilets, Mozart and death.

The set was simple and very effective. It was cleverly done to allow the focus to be directed to the actors. The playschool-ish set design very much set the tone of what was to come along. The extra plus sized double doors as a backdrop also perhaps served in a way subliminally as ‘once you step through this door, EVERYTHING will change, life will never be the same again’. Any parent would testify to this. I am NOT a parent but have been an uncle long enough to witness from the sidelines and see what goes on haha (Thankfully, sometimes).

The lighting design too was most effective. Simple, again, but it set and showcased the various mood we were witnessing on stage. One of the most featured lighting pieces was a gigantic ring light style pendant which dimmed and glowed appropriately and which during the first half served as the framework for the child’s cot mobile. Clever.

NOW, the actors, there are three. They all were all strong. Erin James plays Anna (Mother to be and then Mother). Matt Crook plays her loving and supportive husband and various other ‘voiced’ roles including Anna’s mother. Kathryn Adams plays a variety of roles also, her grand mother, nurse, doctor and more, all with success.

Erin James is fricken delightful to watch and she maneuvers her way around pregnancy, meat eating, child birth, helicopter mothering, neurosis, and all the other challenging bits and bobs parenting can bring along. Erin is brilliant and a joy to watch.

Matt Crook does sensationally as he plays the supportive partner, caring, sensitive. He and Erin both highlight one of the biggest issues for new parents, lack of sleep and over tiredness and what it does to one’s body and mind. But it’s when we finally see a ‘snap’, is when we see the true depth of his character. Marvellous.

Kathryn Adams flits around beautifully come in and out of different characters (with NO costume changes), she engages the roles effortlessly (which includes a dog at one point) and you do not miss a beat with what is going on. Terrific.

All actors are brilliant at their craft. Engaging, real, fun and tell the story and connect with an ease that is easy for an audience to vibe with.

The mutterings of ‘OMG that was soooo spot on and accurate’ as we left the theatre echoed.

This is a gem of a show, complete with a totally random and very humorous compost toilet scene. To sum up, go and see this piece of theatre directed by Shannon Rush. Bravo.

Welcome To Your New Life by Anna Goldsworthy
10 Nov — 25 Nov 2023
Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre

Tickets here

All photos by Matt Byrne

Share your love

Popular News

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. We don’t send any spam email ever!