The Peach Season explore complexity in parenthood

MOTHER'S LOVE: Celia, played by Marianne Polwes and on-stage daughter Zoe, played by Sophie Linton for The Peach Season. Photo: Danny Scott.

MOTHER'S LOVE: Celia, played by Marianne Polwes and on-stage daughter Zoe, played by Sophie Linton for The Peach Season. Photo: Danny Scott.

Becoming a parent is like walking down an unknown, dangerous path with no directions. 

There is nothing more frightening, more exhilarating and more rewarding than to shape another person’s life.

In this journey there are scars, often invisible and deep, and it is these conflicting battle wounds that have come to life for the most recent Lieder production, The Peach Season.

Written by Debra Oswald, the brains behind Offspring, the story is quite simple. Celia (Marianne Powles), neighbour Dorothy (Jennifer Lamb) and Celia’s daughter Zoe (Sophie Linton) welcome a pair of hitch hikers looking for some quick cash to fix their car.

Recommended by Dorothy’s son Joe (David Rayner), the naive brother Kieran (Harrison Treble) and reserved sister Sheena (Peta Treble) become peach pickers on Celia’s farm. 

Under the all-consuming summer heat and arduous agricultural labour, affection blossoms between Kieran and Zoe.

This unpredictable wave of young love breeds Celia’s concern and ultimately drives her daughter away, unleashing old memories of her late husband’s death. 

It is in this moment of utter decline, in which she has been stripped of motherhood, a right bestowed and cherished, where the audience questions the power and peril of paternal love.

This is the challenge The Peach Season presents. 

Initially slow in narrative progression, the story line is extremely realistic: a lovers’ quarrel, a life-threatening decision.

First and foremost this is a story for younger people as issues of drugs, friendship, self-confidence and family trust are brought to light. 

Jennifer Lamb’s wise yet comical character was integral in stitching the narrative together, and equally commendable. Both as a character and a narrator, she grasped the attention of the characters and audience alike. 

Sophie Linton, who marked her first performance on the Lieder stage, was confident and seasoned. Marianne Powles was striking and the Trebles were authentic. 

The use of dozens of real peaches was an added bonus and transported the audience onto the farm created on stage. However you look at it, whether it resurrects a turbulent childhood or not, everyone can relate to this story in one way or another. 

It offers a reminder of the many sacrifices made in becoming a parent. And the reality that as a carer, despite the mistakes and consequences, a child cannot simply be thrown away like bad fruit.

The show was directed by Chrisjohn Hancock, the costumes were curated by Amanda Weeks and Pauline Mullen, and the scene painting by Michael Byrt. 

The Peach Season will run until June 3. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online on the Lieder Theatre’s website. For more information call 4821 5066.