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by Dennis Kelly

Where and When

McAulay Studio, Hong Kong Arts Centre
8-11 Dec 2010


A3_THEORRPHANS - flierWhat does it take to bring a world crashing down? In the case of Helen and Danny, a married couple with a young son, crisis comes in the shape of Helen’s brother, Liam, who shows up in their home one evening, drenched in another man’s blood. This is the gripping premise for Orphans, Dennis Kelly’s taut and unsettling new play, a work that is by turns horrifying, hilarious and heart-breaking.

Helen and Liam are siblings bound by the trauma of losing their parents who “were burnt to a crisp in a fire” when they were kids. Helen and Danny are a mainly happy couple whose relationship is showing its first cracks as they decide whether to have a second child.

Over the course of an enervating two hours the trio haltingly reveal what has happened to Liam in a narrative of escalating menace and horror that would make Pinter squirm.

This is a very bleak look at modern life – a world of miscommunication and mistrust where feral youths and violence reign on the streets. Which is not to say that there aren’t also some moments of jet-black humour in Kelly’s script. His stop-start dialogue, where no-one ever quite says what they mean, means what they say or finishes a sentence, builds an atmosphere that lingers long after the curtain call.


Danny Daren Durkin
Helen Candice Moore
Liam Paul Sheehan


Production Team

Director Ahmed El-Alfy
Producer Teri Fitsell
Co-Producer Jodi Gilchrist
Set Design Lara Genovese
Lighting Design Andy Burt
Stage Manager
Lara Genovese
Deputy Stage Manager
Kenix Ho
Teri Fitsell