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Plastic Figurines

Remmie Milner and Jamie Samuel. Photo: Lucas Smith Remmie Milner and Jamie Samuel in Plastic Figurines at the New Diorama Theatre. Photo: Lucas Smith

Ella Carmen Greenhill’s emotionally complicated play explores the relationship between a sister and her teenage autistic brother following the death of their mother. There is depth and delicacy to the writing, and humour too, far more than the premise might suggest. Drawing in part on her own experiences, Greenhill frames the siblings’ relationship through a lens of grief.

Remmie Milner’s Rosie and Jamie Samuel’s Mikey banter and bicker like brothers and sisters do, but he is capable of hurting her without realising it. He takes things too far without understanding the consequences of his behaviour and he melts down when he breaks a vase, yet meets his mother’s death with a cool acceptance.

Milner and Samuel quickly pin down the rhythms of this particular relationship, and both their performances are shaded and subtle; Samuel successfully steers clear of cliche and Milner conveys Rosie’s lake-like patience, while also making it clear that she has her limits. The play also addresses the struggles that both will face as Mikey grows older: his need for independence, her need to care for him.

The shifting chronology could perhaps be clearer and the ending feels jarringly abrupt, but Adam Quayle’s confident, contained production is full of quietly moving moments.

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A tender, nuanced piece of new writing exploring autism and the bond between siblings