Things I Know To Be True Review

ATYP’s reviewing program was created to give young people a platform to voice their opinions and experiences while developing skills in critical reflection. The views expressed are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of ATYP or its staff.


In a life full of uncertainty, we as young people have begun to list the things we know to be true. We know there are socio-political divides between our communities with battles of bias, wealth and inequality. We know there is still a long way Australia needs to go in accepting individuals within the LGBTQIA+ community and we know that the typical Australian household is bound to sweep the Big Idea under the rug.

So, what is it about Black Swan Theatre Company’s Things I Know To Be True that sets it apart from any other Australian play or production? To begin, it is without a doubt a text that speaks for itself, the acclaimed Andrew Bovell has been able to beautifully articulate the desperation and hierarchies within Modern households. Our lives are quickly reflected through the text where we find similarities in almost every home. Whether you come from a nuclear, migrant or extended family, your life is quickly shown through a struggle trying to achieve the Australian dream’. Inherent gender bias ingrained within our families is unpacked on stage with lighting that builds the tension in these specific moments. The desperation of working-class mothers to give their kids what they couldn’t have is done simply but still gracefully through subtle mentions that underpin the storyline. The directorial vision produced by Kate Champion has elegantly portrayed these ranges of societal identity, economic divides and familial connections in a show you do not want to miss.

Lara Shaw and Kaz Kane in Things I Know To Be True, 2023. Photo by Daniel J Grant ©

As the play centres around the changing of seasons, I questioned whether this would be done tastefully and maintain believability. Zoë Atkinson has absolutely hit the brief through her minimalist set design, making you truly believe you have entered the Price family’s home. However, there were moments in which the sound in the play became jarring to the performance, feeling as if specific scenes were not fully formed and were sweptUnder the rug’, creating static transitions. Then again this could easily lend itself to artistically commentating on how we as Australians function and quickly neglect topics that hold significant weight to the well-being of our society.

The stand out of the show was Humphrey Bower, who entranced you into his world as Bob Price forcing you to hold compassion for the naiveness, kindness and uncoordinated fathers of our lives through his impeccable stage presence. His performance hit the nail on the head with quick-wit expressions and comedic humour in tense moments – I truly believed he was listening and reacting to every moment said on stage. Bob’s final scene is certainly an eye-jerking one with the text alone but Humphrey brought this to life, leaving the audience sobbing and with a standing ovation.

Overall, the play itself is worth a watch, it provides artful commentary on our socio-political lives immersing you into your own world and asking you to reflect on your own actions and reactions within society. It asks us young people to consider when we have been naive, neglected ourselves and from here who do we want to become. Although I would’ve loved to see more of an exploration of the character’s depths and tribulations on stage, it is true that it was a well-produced piece of theatre that is perfect for a family night out.


Lea, 18 [she/her]

Things I Know To Be True plays at The Heath Ledger Theatre until the 18th of June. Buy tickets here.