Blood in the Water

Blood in the Water

Blood in the Water Rating

Click if you liked this article


Playwright Jorja Bentley has authored a gripping and provocative theatre show with ‘Blood in the Water’. The show comes laden with content warnings: sexual violence, violence against children, & domestic abuse. Despite these hard-hitting themes, ‘Blood in the Water’ is also truly hilarious.

The show begins with the mother (Ruth) and daughter (Jen) engaged in verbal sparring about Jen wanting to go glamping with her friends on the night of her mother’s birthday dinner. The stepfather (Reuban) offers to drive Jen to both as a negotiation, then soon after receives a phone call that alters the course of their domestic life.

It is revealed that Ruth’s son (Jen’s brother) has been arrested for raping his girlfriend, Anna. Ruth’s sister, Sal, becomes Jen’s trusted ally in the family, where both were kept in the dark about Ruth and Reuben, knowing that there was concrete evidence against Ruth’s son; he had filmed it. The footage is leaked, and the son is sentenced to 4 years in prison.

Ruth and Sal had grown up with an abusive mother, and questions of nature-nurture and victim-perpetrator are explored. Sal’s liberal, outspoken character contrasts with Ruth’s uptight persona and the picture of suburban domesticity we see in her and Reuben’s home. Reuban is concerned with appearances and how this news will affect his political career.

Ruth desperately tries to avoid the reality of what has happened, seeking absolution for her son. Sal and Jen feel a sense of betrayal at Ruth’s avoidance of acknowledging the enormity of her son’s wrongdoing. The play follows each family member over the course of a year as they grapple with the weight of the son’s conviction and the choices they must make moving forward.

Mia Tuco, Chris Koch, Lana Schwarcz, & Karlis Zaid have fantastic stage chemistry and deliver the play with the authenticity it deserves.

Fantastic one-liners bring levity to the gravity of the subject matter being explored. Aspects of modernity are interrogated through quick-witted quips and satire. With notable lines like “You know I don’t study on Sunday. Sundays are for procrastination and existential dread.”

Sal and Jen’s honest relationship offers solace through this time. Humour and transparency bring the two characters closer together and provide safety and opportunities for healing.

Paralleling them both, and where this play is both confronting and entertaining, can the mother accept that she can both detest her son’s behaviour and love him? Jen’s boundaries are more marked, but can she offer support to Anna and still miss her brother? We see the care and concern she harbours below the surface.

Blood In The Water runs at the La Mama Courthouse from Jun 20 – Jun 30 to the following session times and runs for 100 minutes, including interval:-

  • Wed: 6.30pm
  • Thurs, Fri: 7.30pm
  • Sat: 2pm, 7.30pm
  • Sun: 4pm

This review also appears on It’s On The House. Check out more reviews at Whats The Show to see what else is on in your town.

Spread the word on your favourite platform!