In His Words: Voices of Fatherhood

The-Street-Theatre-In-His-Words-Brett-Williams-Creswick-James-Hauptmann-Ben-Hauptmann-Chris-Pound-photo-by-Craig-AlexanderThis beguiling reverie exploring the state of fatherhood is the brainchild of composer/musician/videographer, Creswick (a.k.a. Liam Budge), inspired by his own experience, but told through the musings of nine fathers, both young and not so.

Drawing on the mentorship of the Street Theatre’s Early Phase Development Project, Creswick honed his idea to bring it fruition, composing the songs, filming the interviewees, then finally, performing the show himself.

Having overcome the major problem of locating fathers willing to share their thoughts and experiences, the resultant interviews were then filmed, with each interviewee captured in his own environment, relaxed and unself-conscious, often interacting with his progeny.

These segments are beautifully filmed, revealing, funny, perceptive, inspiring, often unexpectedly moving. Skilfully edited they form a captivating visual component for an engrossing live theatre experience, sensitively directed by Caroline Stacey.

Positioned centre stage, Creswick was surrounded by four highly skilled musicians in Brett Williams (piano & keys), Chris Pound (Bass), Ben Hauptmann (Guitars) and James Hauptmann (Drums) positioned among Imogen Keen’s remarkable abstract setting which was dominated by a large video screen hung above the musicians and softened by the addition of a vertical string sculpture suggesting the strings of a piano.

A striking figure with long flowing hair and barefooted throughout, Creswick sat at a keyboard surrounded by his four musical associates. He listened with rapt attention while the father’s shared their stories, nodded encouragement whenever his colleagues contributed a superb solo subtly showcased in Antony Hateley’s glowing lighting or gently faded from view when the videos required the attention of the audience.

As Kimmo Vennenon’s superb audio design highlighted the virtuosity of each musician, particularly the remarkable piano skills of Brett Williams, the performance became an aural and visual feast, blemished only in those moments when Creswick’s vocal stylings compromised the clarity of his lyrics, depriving his audience full entrée to the depth of his very personal responses to the revelations of his interviewees.

Whether attracted by the topic or the music, In His Words offers a unique, highly accessible and brilliantly executed insight into a life’s experiences too few men take the time to relish. How special to be provided with this delightful reminder to reflect on your own.

In His Words: Voices of Fatherhood
The Street Theatre, 15 Childers Street, Canberra City West
Performance: Saturday 24 June 2023
Season: 23 – 25 June 2023

Image: Brett Williams, Creswick, James Hauptmann, Ben Hauptmann and Chris Pound perform In His Words: Voices of Fatherhood – photo courtesy of the Creswick Collective

Review: Bill Stephens OAM