Truth is a slippery fish when it comes to family ties. What is true about the feelings you have for a group of people you never chose to love? What truths do you know about them? And then, people are complicated; the version of self which you present to your family is not necessarily the same one which you take anywhere else. Frantic Assembly's Things I Know to be True looks to explore the complex relationships which occur in families, and the things which are taken for granted when you're in the middle of them. It's a bold aim - trying to say anything universal about something so personal is never going to be easy. Ultimately, it feels like there's an underlying goal to elicit an emotional reaction rather than make a point.
The script, although ultimately a moving and detailed depiction of a family in a moment of change, has marked moments of brilliance and weakness. Particularly successful and well-written was the older sister and her plotline, which explored a mother-daughter story not often depicted. Seline Hizli imbued the character with depth and complexity, and her interactions with Cate Hamer as her mother stood out as emotionally believable. However, there were also moments where the script tended towards cliché, which was a shame. Plus, the trans narrative felt under-researched and felt like it was written from an exterior perspective, which was somewhat troubling.
The 'Frantic Assembly' element of the piece seemed to be most apparent in the use of set, which slid across the stage during every scene change. The resulting effect, which made the scene changes feel like a well-rehearsed hockey match where the ball had been replaced with a table, was impressive and exciting. The physical theatre was somewhat scarce and what there was seemed to lack the integral connection to the emotional content which Frantic Assembly is famous for.
Things I Know to be True is certainly moving; I did cry at the end, along with 90% of the other audience members. But I didn't leave with any questions or conundrums, which felt oddly empty and unfulfilling.