Set in a post apocalyptic wasteland in the not-too-distant future, The Big Dry leaves more questions than it attempts to answer. Firstly, it is a commentary on climate change and the dire options it potentially leaves our ancestors, but also is a discussion on the abilities of children if left to inherit the earth before their time.
George and Beeper are brothers, trapped inside their crumbling family home. Dad has left and isn’t looking like coming back, while frequent dust storms batter their house. Food and water are scarce, and the authorities are taking children away if seen in public, which confines the two boys to make do with short trips of scavenging. When the slightly older Emily hijacks their place, George is immediately fearful, while Beeper is drawn to a new friend. As the three begin to come to an agreement of cohabitation, the storms continue to get worse, and their situation looks direr by the day.
A co-production with ATYP, this is a play by and about young people and their relationships. The cast of four is excellent and wise beyond their years. Rory Potter is suitably fearful and resourceful as the elder brother George – even stopping mid-monologue while an ill patient left the audience without then missing a beat – while Noah Sturzaker’s Beeper is a wonderful combination of bubbling energy and vulnerability. Sophia Nolan brings a stoic maturity to Emily which is mysterious, while Richard Sydenham covers a number of roles from a rhyming rabbitoh to the old man next door.
The Big Dry is a wonderfully gritty exploration of brotherhood and resilience. Of all the questions the play asks, the one it does answer is that no matter what we hand to them the future generations will be just fine.
The Big Dry is performing its season at Ensemble Theatre in Kirribilli, Sydney. For more information, head here.
The reviewer attended the performance on June 18, 2016.