Alex Dawson.

Alex Dawson’s Review of ‘Tim’, the Play

Review by Alex Dawson, member of Mischief Makers drama group. 

Please note this review contains spoilers. If you would like to see the play, use code TRUST for $30 tickets, valid until Saturday 19 August 2023. 

Tim is a new stage show at the IPAC, depicting a young gardener who gets into an unlikely relationship with his boss. Tim is a 25-year-old man with who works for a landscaping company. His disability is never disclosed but his behaviour indicates a mild intellectual disability with some sensory challenges, such as being upset by loud noise.

Tim comes from a middle-class family, who have had trouble dealing with Tim over his lifespan. Within the family, you saw the different approaches to helping Tim navigate life. Dad is keen to let him explore and have some freedom. Mum and Dee are more protective and want to control what he does and who he sees, to avoid him being hurt or bullied. Even though this show displays many arguments between family members, it also contains much humour, roasts, and exciting times for Tim, and for other family members.

Mary, an older and successful executive, employs Tim for some gardening, and finds them getting on well. Mary takes Tim under her wing – giving him work, teaching him to read and enjoying lots of conversations. After a while, Mary takes Tim away for the weekend to do some work at her holiday house. This happens a few more times, and eventually Tim declares he is falling in love with Mary. Mary brushes this off and she is quite confronted by his feelings, as in her view it would be ‘wrong’ to love Tim who is 29 years younger and has an intellectual disability.

The show challenges people’s perceptions and approaches to individuals that are not “normal”. In this case, Tim with an intellectual disability. The premise is that Tim is not worthy or not “whole”. Mary’s falling in love with Tim is categorised as ‘wrong’, both by his family and Mary. Mary’s original plan for Tim was to get him into supported accommodation (a group home for people with disabilities) however, she had to accept that he didn’t need this type of support. Although it seemed a joke to start with, it was suggested that if they got married it would be “the perfect solution”.

She can’t help her feelings and she has to confront why she considers it wrong. After much soul-searching and talks, Mary confronts her fears and realises that Tim makes her happy and she does indeed love Tim. With Tim’s dad’s permission, Tim and Mary get married!

The play was originally written in the 1970s by Colleen McCullough but has been modernised by Tim McGarry to suit audiences in 2023. The modern language and references to today’s “disability terms“ such as the NDIS, Support Coordinators, respite, and group homes help give the story authenticity.

Tim’s mother suddenly dies in the middle of the performance, which worries the family for Tim. He may not be able to cope with such news. He consequently doesn’t attend his mother’s funeral. As time goes on, Tim matures and is able to attend his father’s funeral, at the end of the performance.

In terms of the logistics of the performance, the set is incredibly versatile, adapting itself to different scenes. The set can spin around from a green, leafy wall to a front porch. There is also a glass wall that can open/close. The performance is also only one act with no breaks.

The actors played multiple roles and I am astonished at how seamlessly the performance flowed!

The show does have some explicit language and arguments, but I highly recommend this show to anyone. It is a wonderful story to follow.

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