By Ernest Kearney — It is always a pity when a show falls through the cracks, and with 375 shows that is not an altogether uncommon occurrence. The Tempest Theatre production of Sparrow was unfortunately such a show. After arriving in L.A. from Perth, both director and performer of this one woman show fell victim to jet lag flu and were forced to cancel their first performance: Once lost, momentum is difficult to regain.
Sparrow is based on the true story of Mollie Skinner, who lived in Australia at the beginning of the 20th century. It is the tale of a woman born, with a cleft lip, into a world that offered those of her sex few recourses in life other than marriage and motherhood. Then later in life, the deaths of those closest to her and illness would afflict her with loneliness, isolation and blindness. She has a chance encounter with the great English author D.H. Lawrence, who she finds “unfinished, like music,” and between them develops a lifelong correspondence. Lawrence would provide her with the encouragement to life beyond the constricting expectation of others and her society and she would provide D.H. Lawrence with the inspiration that lead to his novel The Boy in the Bush; one of the greatest novels of the Australia landscape.
As both playwright and director Susie Conte has created a piece of strength and sincerity, and this in turn has unfolded onto the superb performance by Kylie Maree. As Skinner, Maree achieves such an understated honesty that we the audience embrace each of Skinner’s tragedies as our own. In this story of triumph, Maree is triumphant in her performance.
A GOLD MEDAL.
♦ ♦ ♦
Closing its run at the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2017
Has moved south to play at
The Spreckel’s Theatre
121 Broadway, San Diego, 92101
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