Here are the wonderful comments made about the show from Evan Placey on behalf of the judging panel for The Brian Way Award 2013
It’s a play that tackles huge themes – class, wealth, religion, war, mental health, sexuality, gender roles, and most strikingly – love – and does all this through the personal story of one family, and the deceiving simplicity of one character telling us a story.
It’s funny, it’s moving, and it’s heartfelt. It surprised and delighted us, just as it would any young audience, as a shoebox was opened unleashing a family’s secrets and truths. It’s a story that holds you captive and constantly has you asking – what happens next? – all the more poignant because it’s a true story.
It’s a piece that interacts with its audience, and one, we felt that was especially skilled in the way it appeals to all ages. It challenges form and what a play for young audiences can be, and what a play can be. And it trusts the magic of the small – how a chair, a projector, and some drawings on some envelopes are enough to captivate an audience.
Like a graphic novel come to life we watch Ab’s weekly drawings to his wife Celie that he drew on the back of his weekly pay packets, and the writing invites us to find the emotion and the truth that lies somewhere between the images, the storyteller and us. The writing forces us: to hear the bustle and kvetching of a busy restaurant, to smell the cooking of a seder dinner, to sense the touch of a new expensive coat, to feel the shame of parents as they leave their son in a mental asylum, and of course to taste gefilte fish.
It’s an epic story that takes hold of you from the moment a lid is taken off a shoebox and doesn’t let you go even after the play has finished.