Drawing on her 2015 memoir (available in the foyer, naturally), playwright Hannie Rayson delivers a cosy hour of storytelling.
Beginning with a portrait of family life in bayside Brighton in the early 1960s, she presents a series of snapshots of her life, some wry, some rueful, and all gently funny.
In a chapter titled Leaky, she revisits her childhood to muse about “women’s problems”. In The Snake she conjures up her first serious boyfriend (then leaves him in a locked-up cinema).
She pokes gentle fun at drama school teaching methods, at bohemian life in Melbourne in the 1970s, and tells a poignantly personal story about her encounter with the artist Arthur Boyd.
What she doesn’t do – and this might surprise – is dwell on her professional success and the plays that made her one of the best-known Australian playwrights of her generation.
Instead, her focus is on the personal and the relatable.
Directed by Matthew Lutton (Hello, Beautiful! premiered at Melbourne’s Malthouse), this is a small-scale production that sits comfortably on the Griffin stage.
Rayson’s voice wasn’t in the best nick on this night. She had to fight to be heard over the music clips at times and those in the back rows had to lean in. But she’s an engaging storyteller, and works the room confidently, speaking to the audience as friends.
No smugness. No pearls of wisdom dispensed. Just a woman at peace with her past, secure in her present, and seemingly untroubled by the future.