Every Lovely Terrible Thing is actually the name of a play and it’s not often that a locally written and developed play makes it to the big city. But in the case of Every Lovely Terrible Thing, it’s about to start a run at Theatre Works in St. Kilda in a co-production with local theatre company, Lab Kelpie.

Lab Kelpie is the brainchild of local Hepburn residents Adam Fawcett and Lyall Brooks and is based in Daylesford.  Adam, as the General Manager, and Lyall, as the Artistic Director have been operating as Lab Kelpie for 12 years now and working out of their office in Daylesford for the past 6 years since moving here.

Every Lovely Terrible Thing is Lap Kelpie’s most ambitious work to date and a series of “firsts” for this small local outfit.  They are working with 14 artists on this show, which is the most they’ve ever employed as well as being the first two-act play they have developed and presented. Additionally, it’s also the first time they have co-presented a new work with Theatre Works in St Kilda, considered by many to be Australia’s home of independent theatre.

So what’s the play about? Adam said, “The play centres around a chaotic, dysfunctional family called the Colemans. These guys are very funny, but also quite disconnected from one another. On the first day of rehearsals our director Justin said he thinks of this family as being stuck in an interregnum – a period between two moments of change – and I think that sums up this family perfectly. They are individually stuck within in their own lives and dragging each other down because of it. There is a lot of unresolved trauma within the family and some heavy themes drawn from my own personal experience, but also a lot of love, too. You will definitely laugh, you may cry, but my hope is that you will have a great night in the theatre!”

Not only is the play locally written there are also a number of locals working in and on the play.  Lyall, besides being the Artistic Director at Lap Kelpie, is also acting in the play along with another local, Megan Jones.  The costume designer is Martelle Hunt who resides in Trentham.  Other performers include Jordan Fraser-Trumble, who recently won Best Oceania Actor at the Septimius International Film Awards for his role in feature film The Cost, and Wil King who recently starred in the ABC drama In Our Blood.

When asked about the process he went through to write this play and how long it took, Adam said, “From start to finish the entire process took about four years. I call this ‘my pandemic play’, though it doesn’t deal with Covid at all thankfully! I can honestly say it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life, creatively or otherwise. Because the source material is so personal to me, it was very hard to work on the play constantly, and I nearly quit three times during the process. Luckily I have a bit of the old country mongrel in me, which refused to give in and kept chipping away, page by page, until I felt it was ready to put on stage.”

Although Adam and Lyall are heavily into rehearsals, Adam has plans for future productions including a new play called Men on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.  He recently presented an excerpt of it as a finalist in the 2024 Midsumma Queer Playwriting Award. He’s hoping to further develop it this year with a view to putting it on in 2025.

Adam and Lyall are also keen to put on something locally but a lack of adequate infrastructure makes it hard for them to present anything that’s not a straight reading or bare bones type production. Their new kids show, Reasons To Be Invisible by Katy Warner, is currently being developed in Daylesford and will hopefully tour later this year as part their Regional Arts Victoria tour. Lab Kelpie are also planning on starting regular acting classes soon in Daylesford and you can sign up to the Lab Kelpie VIP list to keep up to date with progress.

Every Lovely Terrible Thing plays from 29 February to 16 March at Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St Kilda with 7.30pm shows from Tuesday to Saturday, and also 2pm matinees on Saturdays.

A Q&A session with the audience is scheduled following the 2pm matinee on Saturday 2 March.

Purchase tickets by visiting: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/every-lovely-terrible-thing-tickets-774130825137