Adelaide Repertory Theatre
The Arts Theatre
Until 17 Apr 2021

Review by Janice Bailey

Beth Henley’s 1981 play “Crimes of the Heart” won her a Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Award. It is a bittersweet comedy about the three McGrath sisters from Hazlehurst Mississippi. Babe, the youngest, has shot her husband after he found her with a young lover. Lenny, the elder McGrath sister is turning 30 and feels that life is passing her by. Meg, the middle sister arrives home from Hollywood having to admit that her dreams of becoming a singing star are not going to become a reality.

“Crimes of the Heart” is a delicious feast of relationships, specifically between the three sisters who are dysfunctional in their own life, making the interactions between them tense and yet loving, each in their own way. Beth Henley has written clearly defined characters and director Geoff Brittain has brought out the best in each actor. Georgia Stockham as Lenny, Cheryl Douglas as Meg, Allison Scharber as Babe, Deborah Proeve as Chick, Steve Marvanek as Doc and Adam Schultz as Barnette have created their characters with conviction. As the story is set in Mississippi, believable and consistent accents are required and for the most part each of the characters does well.

Ole Wiebkin has designed a detailed and workable set. Well done to everyone involved in finally getting this show to the stage, given the unpredictable happenings of this year.