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The Boy My Father Raised, Star Theatre Two Theatre (Adelaide Fringe) – Review

At the beginning of 2019, playwright and director Rachel Stone witnessed the biographical account of a male victim of domestic violence. Wanting to expand on the subject through theatre, she collaborated with co-author Jacob Roneberg – who also plays the leading role of Taylor – to produce an hour-long drama that follows the steps of a teenager growing up with an abusive father. Beyond the account of how bad things can be on the day-to-day life, the creatives’ principal focus is on the complex traumatic bonding that can be unwillingly established between a victim and their perpetrators, especially within…

Summary

Rating

Good

Inspired by a true story of domestic violence, The Boy My Father Raised aims to highlight the complex emotional relationship between the perpetrator and their victims.

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At the beginning of 2019, playwright and director Rachel Stone witnessed the biographical account of a male victim of domestic violence. Wanting to expand on the subject through theatre, she collaborated with co-author Jacob Roneberg – who also plays the leading role of Taylor – to produce an hour-long drama that follows the steps of a teenager growing up with an abusive father.

Beyond the account of how bad things can be on the day-to-day life, the creatives’ principal focus is on the complex traumatic bonding that can be unwillingly established between a victim and their perpetrators, especially within a domestic environment.

Growing up with his alcoholic father Chris (Isaac Troisi), Taylor has witnessed since an early age the rough marriage between his parents. Intoxicated and unable to retain control, Chris often takes his rage out upon his family, with increasing bouts of physical violence regularly followed by signs of repentance and pleas for forgiveness. This vicious circle keeps the boy and his mother emotionally attached to the abuser, in the hopes of a much sought-after change. Sadly, more often than not, the change cannot be attained without the occurrence of drastic events, and neither the teenager, nor his mother have ever found the strength to leave in order to break the bond.

As he starts developing his own relationship with his girlfriend Cassie (Tabitha Sylvia), Taylor is compelled to look at things from a different perspective. Torn between despise and unconditioned love for his father, the boy must look inwards and process his own ability to show affection without allowing his aggressive instincts to taint it.

Despite the depth of the topics touched, the play doesn’t feel ripe. Superficial dialogue offer limits psychological insight, whilst the use of recordings unnecessarily replaces the direct delivery of lines by the cast. Taking into account the short life this piece has had so far, and the young age of the team involved, some further polishing will almost certainly allow The Boy My Father Raised to reach its full potential.

Written by: Rachel Stone and Jacob Roneberg
Directed by: Rachel Stone
Produced by: August Stone Theatre Company
Booking Information: This show has completed its current run.

About Marianna Meloni

Marianna Meloni
Marianna, being Italian, has an opinion on just about everything and believes that anything deserves an honest review. Her dream has always been to become an arts critic and, after collecting a few degrees, she realised that it was easier to start writing in a foreign language than finding a job in her home country. In the UK, she tried the route of grown-up employment but soon understood that the arts and live events are highly addictive.