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The Sum of Us review – ‘perfectly pitched, bitter-sweet comedy’ at Above The Stag Theatre

David Stevens' The Sum of Us at Above The Stag Theatre David Stevens' The Sum of Us at Above The Stag Theatre
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Originally written by David Stevens as the final part of his Currency Trilogy of plays, The Sum of Us is probably best remembered for its popular movie adaptation starring a young Russell Crowe. Set in the early 90s in suburban Australia, it is an enchantingly domestic tale of widower Harry and his openly gay son Jeff. Theirs is an easy relationship built on acceptance, respect and love but finding a partner proves difficult for both of them.

Gene David Kirk directs with economy, giving free reign to the bawdy Oz comedy but lending a delicacy to the introspective moments that manifest as a series of monologues on the nature of family and relationships from each of the two men. David Shield’s set design is a triumph of suburban kitsch, but ultimately, it’s the performances that bind this play together.

There is a significant chemistry between Stephen Connery-Brown as Harry and Tim McFarland as his doe-eyed son Jeff. Together they create an authentic bond, so achingly comfortable in each other’s company that any interloper would feel awkward. This feeling is heightened with the arrival of Rory Hawkins as Jeff’s date Greg and hammered home in a brief but spectacular scene with Annabel Pemberton a possible wife for Harry.

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Perfectly pitched, bitter-sweet comedy that flourishes with equally solid production values and performances