Return to Earth is an imaginative, bittersweet comedy about a young woman who returns home only to find that everything is strange and unfamiliar. She doesn't seem to know if she wants to stay or not. But the pull on her is strong. They want her here. They need her. A best friend, a man who could be a lover, her Mum and Dad. And her brother whose little girl is dying of kidney disease. When Alice is called on to help them, real life starts to tug her down to earth.
Set in 1914 as Melbourne's Swanston River threatens to consume all in its wake, Goodbye Vaudeville Charlie Mudd unearths a half-remembered world of highly questionable character, in which a ghostly, clamorous chorus rails against the din of the modern world. [From the book's back cover]
'Sometimes ponies eat the flowers that grow in the gardens and then they're naughty. Or sometimes they eat the roses, but not the thorns. And then they're clever.' Alice Waster has returned to her parents' home in the small Australian coastal town of Tathra, where she grew up. She's returned to earth. From which, apparently, she's been gone for a long, long time.
For Alice's parents Wendy and Cleveland, their adult daughter's return means the possibility of once again being a whole family unit. The way it was when their children were young. For Tommy, Alice's brother, her return means the chance to save the life of his terminally ill little girl, Catta. For her old school friend Jeanie, Alice's return means the chance to once again believe in the magic hidden beneath the surface of everyday reality. For Alice, her return means the chance for redemption. And the possibility of falling in love.
Alice is different than she used to be. For one thing, she eats her food slower. She's also interested in other people. It seems she is trying hard to be considerate. Like a grown-up. However, a suspicion hangs in the air. The people Alice has returned for remember the cost of believing in her magic. The cost of believing in Alice. And they can't shake the feeling that there's something Alice isn't telling.' (Abstract for the 2009 reading)
Source: www.nationalplayfestival.org.au (Sighted 20/01/2009).
'Alice returns home to the sleepy seaside town of Tathra and everything seems just as she left it. So why does it seem so unfamiliar? It's as if she's forgotten everything she's ever known, everything she needs to make a settled, simple life. Her family try to help her out and she wants to settle down - really she does - but some part of her still floats way up there in the blue. Gravity's insistent tug. Welcome to the fresh and off-centre world of award-winning playwright Lally Katz, making her MTC debut with a play that looks deeply to the strangeness within. ' (Abstract for the 2011 performance)
Source: Melbourne Theatre Company website, www.mtc.com.au (sighted 29/9/10)