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Sam Rogers, left, plays Simon, and David Bull plays grandson Reece in Legacy. PHOTO: KELLEY TANTAU

REVIEW: Leaving a legacy and lasting impression


Doug Harrison is a nasty piece of work (his family would call that a compliment compared to what they’d really like to say).
He seems to spend every day of his quickly-diminishing life determined to make those around him miserable, as if he is one insult away from being crowned the world’s most hated man.
With that comes jibes about weight, religion, feminism, gender, race, sexism… you name it, and something feels so wrong about watching someone so awful stand in front of you for 150 minutes, and yet it feels so right.
Legacy, written and directed by Thames playwright Kristina Walton, shows us a man many people would have met at some point throughout their lives.
Even the way Doug, played impeccably by Ewan Grant-Mackie, walks gruffly around the stage triggers a natural avoid-at-all-costs response.
In fact, Doug’s personality can be boiled down to one scene in particular that tells the story of a bird in a cage who died staring longingly at food it could not eat.
So, yes, there is an ugliness to Legacy – but it is molded so delicately into its beauty.
Because although the play features an unlikeable lead, it is storytelling in its finest form.
Not only is it nice and refreshing to see a miserable man as the star of a narrative, it is also fun.
It is fun to watch the youth of the family gossip and laugh at their old granddad they’ve tried – and failed – to connect with.
It is fun to watch the earnest perseverance of Doug’s only grandson, Reece [David Bull], as he discovers a Lotto ticket with all the numbers in a row encircled. It is fun to see a large family come together under one roof to figure out what’s really going on, even if most of them have relationship strains of their own.
Legacy has a cast of 21, and its run-time is close to 150 minutes, but the pace is kept consistent and the scene changes are as you’d like them to be – done in a blink of an eye.
The set itself is creatively crafted and makes good use of the historic Tararu Arts Centre.
But the lasting impression Legacy leaves is in thanks to the writer’s realistic, relatable, unique, funny – let’s just say stellar – script. It’s not often the words actors speak can be followed with nods of ‘I’ve been there’.
Overall, the show has touching moments. It deals with loss and love and hardship and hate, and just as respect is earned and not given, Legacy reminds us that so too is family.
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