The Parks Theatre
Until 28 Feb 2020

Review by Lance Jones

It was a time of crisis in Australia. England had declared war, and as a result Australia was also at war. Facing Germany, Italy and then Japan, young Australian men took up arms and fought the onslaught as a generation. In Light The Lamp’s Fringe production of “Snapshots from Home”, a very talented group of young people who would have been similar in age to those who answered the call tell the story of their grandparents and great grandparents. Using a mix of acting, song and a well collected montage of music and photos depicting the wartime era, the stories are effortlessly joined and the narrative flows well thanks to the direction of Shaun Castles.

The six actors who take us through the trials and tribulations of World War Two at home are as talented as those they were depicting were brave. Sarah Jmel paints a wonderful portrait of the typical stoic mother during wartime; resigned and hopeful, and eventually, shattered, as tens of thousands of mothers indeed were. Her portrayal of the mother hearing of the death of her son was as powerful as it was emotive.

The wife character played by Jana Muldoon was a standout who shone as an actor blessed with an outstanding singing voice. Demi Van Kasteren delivered an entirely believable performance as she showed us the war through the eyes of the long-suffering sisters at home awaiting the return of their fathers, uncles and brothers. Renae Manfredi was convincingly innocent and unknowing as The Child, capturing the mood of the time through the eyes of the children, albeit with a little too hurried dialogue at times.

Cristian Rosella played The Australian with an authenticity that most people would instantly recognise. His best moment was when he sang and played a guitar in a poignant solo that showed a wonderful vocal and musical talent. The parody of The American was well played by Shahil Chaudhary who had us confused as to whether we should love or hate his character, which pretty much summed up the actual sentiments towards “The Yanks” at the time. While essentially playing their designated parts, each actor also slotted into other roles as the scenes drifted seamlessly from one montage to another, assisted by the wonderful multimedia display artistically put together by Chloe Hoskin.

The stories are instantly recognisable and resonate well with anybody who has heard the tales told to them from someone who was there.

“Snapshots From Home” is a very moving show and it was a joy to see a collection of young people identifying with and showing the emotions experienced by previous generations. Their touching tribute at the conclusion of the play in reciting “The Ode” showed a reverence and respect that is a credit to their generation.

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)