Grand Horizons review

14.06.21

Linda Cropper, Johnny Nasser, Zindzi Okenyo, Guy Simon and John Bell in Sydney Theatre Company’s Grand Horizons, 2021. Photo: Prudence Upton ©

Grand Horizons, written by Bess Wohl, follows Nancy and Bill who decide, after fifty years together, to call quits on their marriage. This prompts their children to become totally entrenched in the situation. The play starts as a relatively simple although confronting revelation when the ‘married’ couple discuss the situation over dinner. However, over the 130-minute runtime it balloons into an epic, and at times, complex and tense dynamic between couples and families.

I was particularly taken by the unique perspective used to tell the story in Grand Horizons. The opportunity to learn about two older characters and juxtapose them with their younger counterparts while still being able to reminisce about their common history is somehow both haunting and beautiful. This effective storytelling device was something I hadn’t seen done in a theatrical performance before.

Zindzi Okenyo in Sydney Theatre Company’s Grand Horizons, 2021. Photo: Prudence Upton ©

Each performer brought life and authenticity to the piece, but I was particularly impressed by Guy Simon as Brian, an eccentric drama teacher, and Zindzi Okenyo as Jess, who almost stole the show for me in the most brutal and emotional breakout scenes. I thought the entire ensemble was superb, making the audience completely believe they were a real family, with many quirks and nuances that kept the illusion alive.

Linda Cropper and Guy Simon in Sydney Theatre Company’s Grand Horizons, 2021. Photo: Prudence Upton ©

The masterful direction by Jessica Arthur pushed the audience through quite a difficult and confronting tale. While it often made us roar with laughter it also made me ponder on my own perception and appreciation of certain things. I am sure I wasn’t the only member of the audience to do so! Overall, I would recommend watching this timely tale for all the delightful, humorous, and jolting moments it has to offer.

Mannon Davies, 21

Sydney Theatre Company’s Grand Horizons is playing at the Roslyn Packer Theatre until July 3. Book your tickets here.

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