Scribe-actress Kate Mulvany's mainstage debut with her semi-autobiographical play "The Seed" heralds the arrival of a unique, brave voice in Australian theater.

Scribe-actress Kate Mulvany’s mainstage debut with her semi-autobiographical play “The Seed” heralds the arrival of a unique, brave voice in Australian theater. Story of a young woman’s attempt to understand the pain her father and grandfather continue to endure from having served in Vietnam and with the IRA, respectively, is at once poignant, warm and occasionally incredibly fierce.

“The Seed” continues Company’s B’s 18-month run of thoroughly top-notch productions, developed within the company’s second-string B Sharp division. The play enjoyed a hit run mid-2007 before being overhauled by company topper Neil Armfield for this mainstage bow.

Mulvany as Rose Maloney re-teams with Martin Vaughn, with whom she achieved a terrific rapport in the Griffin Theater Company’s production of “Mr. Bailey’s Minder.” The vet was coaxed out of retirement for the role of curmudgeon and ex-IRA fighter Brian Maloney.

Danny Adcock, as Rose’s dad, rounds out the trio well, matching Vaughn’s toughness and Mulvany’s softness as necessary.

The three characters enjoy a birthday celebration at a humble family home in Ireland, where Aussie granddaughter Rose, who was recently jilted by her fiancé, meets her grandfather Brian for the first time.

From this reunion, a family battle ensues that sits within a much bigger story about the effects that the ravages of war have on successive generations.

Mulvany has waded incredibly bravely through her own family history to create this play. She began by quizzing her father about his tour of duty in Vietnam and how he felt when she was diagnosed with childhood cancer. Over a number of years, similar questions were directed to her mother, sister, other Vietnam veterans and their families.

The final story is an amalgam of this research wrapped into a neat family saga played out in a drab Ireland living room where truths eventually come out.

The Seed

Company B Belvoir, Sydney; 322 seats; $A54 $50 top


A Company B presentation of a play in two acts by Kate Mulvany. Directed by Iain Sinclair with Neil Armfield.


Set and costumes, Micka Agosta; lighting, Matt Cox; music and sound, Steve Toulmin; stage manager, Kylie Mascord. Opened Feb. 20, 2008. Reviewed Feb.24. Running time: 2 HOURS, 20 MIN.


Rose Maloney - Kate Mulvany Danny Maloney - Danny Adcock Brian Maloney - Martin Vaughn
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