CAN’T FORGET ABOUT YOU
by David Ireland.
Tron Theatre 63 Trongate G1 5HB To 25 July 2015.
Audio-described/BSL Signed 22 Jul.
Captioned 23 Jul.
Runs 2hr 5min One interval.
TICKETS: 0141 552 4267.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 4 July.
Comic portrayal of one man with female family and lovers in Belfast.
Stevie wants sex. He wanted it with partner Ciara till she decoupled (they still want it when she eventually returns). Martha, a widow in her late forties, certainly wants sex with mid-twenties Stevie, picking him up in, naturally enough, a coffee-shop. She becomes a new reason for Stevie going to bed as well as for getting out of bed and carrying-on with his life.
If he and Martha complicate matters by falling in love, there are the women in his family to prevent the course of events running smooth. Sister Rebecca and mother Carol up the laughter quotient through their different, yet serious, concerns.
He’s not forewarned them of Martha’s age; which matters less to Rebecca, for whom the older woman brings the glamour of being from Glasgow (this is fittingly a co-production between Belfast’s Lyric Theatre and the Tron).
The result is a gathering where Martha politely decodes and Stevie embarrassedly suffers Rebecca’s earnest attempts to try-out her Scots at length – something Abigail McGibbon plays with an innocence that manages to leave her dignity intact for future scenes.
But this immediate comedy is a sideshow to the quiet, biting disapproval Carol Moore expresses as Dorothy firmly if politely orders Martha away. There’s a composed, well-ordered patience combined with determination to make the point, giving this mother an authority that has everyone else whirling emotionally around her. Her quiet steel-like presence is reinforced by the firm Protestantism that is more threatening, because less showily obvious than in her daughter’s comments.
There are more predictable moments, like the comic writer’s desperate measure of introducing fancy dress for little reason, though David Ireland makes maximum use of the colourful superhero costumes for a session attempting to overcome an aversion to oral sex, capped by an interruption unexpected by everyone except the audience.
Conleth Hill’s fluent production has performers play Ireland’s deft dialogue with due sense of underlying seriousness, especially Karen Dunbar with Martha’s later-life love and Carol Moore fighting to preserve the family she’s built through her life, while Declan Rodgers’ Stevie moves movingly between joyous sex and shades of difficult relationships.
Martha: Karen Dunbar.
Rebecca: Abigail McGibbon.
Dorothy: Carol Moore.
Ciara: Naomi Rocke.
Stevie: Declan Rodgers.
Director: Conleth Hill.
Designer/Costume: Stuart Marshall.
Lighting: James McFetridge.
Sound: Michael Harpur.