It’s usually around this time of year, with Christmas barrelling towards us like a reindeer on crack, that people start getting nervous about family reunions. Nobody disassembles us quite so well as those Significant blood-tied Others. Or claws to shreds all the skins and pretensions we work so hard to upkeep.

Alex Stylianou, Chenoa Deemal, Bjorn Stewart and Sacha Horler in Belvoir’s Cursed! Photo © Luke Currie-Richardson

This year’s a little different, of course. For a lot of folk, there will be no getting together over turkey dinner with cross-border kin. Not beyond a Zoom call, with our loved ones splintered on screens.

It’s not a tinsel-themed play, but Kodie Bedford’s raucously funny family drama Cursed!, playing now at Sydney’s Belvoir St Theatre, has, like so many other cultural productions of now, soaked up a distinct poignancy from this strange context we’re in. Yes, they drive us crazy, family. But that crazy is sometimes what keeps us sane. Keeps us together. Makes us who we are – for better or worse.

The madhouse that Cursed! brings to the stage under director Jason Klarwein’s capable hand is particularly sensational. Spinning the centre chaos is Dawn (fabulously brought...