09 March 2014

Mini review: The Family Tree

The Family Tree
La Mama
8 March 2014
La Mama Theatre
to 16 March

I saw The Family Tree by accident. By incompetence really. I turned up at 8.30 for a 6.30 show. And one of the many wonderful things about La Mama is that there's usually something to see if you just turn up.

Alicia Easteal is a performer, director, creator and genuine delight. Her solo show is her story about growing up as a member of The Family (not THAT one, the other hippy one), and she has her audience from the moment she takes off her jacket to reveal a t-shirt with Cult Member written on it.

From there, she simply tells her story, shows some photos and shares the likes of school reports. And who doesn't want to hear about the life of baby born in a 70s hippy commune (in Camberwell) where men were called gods, women were called goddesses and marijuana was the pain relief of choice for birth.

She's honest with the downsides of a community afflicted with addiction problems, but refuses to shy away from the positives and joy of being brought up with a non-blood family who still welcome her all over the world and were there for her when she needed them.

It's also a reminder that the hippy movement was something so much more than the fashions it created.

Theatrically, the outside eye of a director could help to shape the drama, but that's for the future. Right now, The Family Tree is fascinating and Alicia's telling is open and engaging and continues to prove that the best stories are true.

Alicia's pitching trailer for My Family's Cult Reunion. From her website, aliciaeasteal.com.