by Fiona Doyle.
Finborough Theatre above The Finborough Arms 118 Finborough Road SW10 9ED To 22 November 2014.
Tue-Sat 7.30pm Sat & Sun 3pm.
Runs 1hr 45min No interval.
TICKETS: 0844 847 1652.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 2 November.
A slow, steady, carefully-wrought drama.
It’s the time of year when the ever-active Finborough becomes truly Vibrant – the name of its annual festival of new play-readings (15+ playwrights between 2-20 November), surrounding a full production of the winning entry in the Papatango New Writing Competition. This year the crop – entered anonymously – sees Fiona Doyle’s first full-length script turn-out prize marrow.
It’s a worthy winner, showing qualities of character, building to a complex moral choice and crucial decision for former local hurling champion Kilian, one which impacts on all four characters.
The speed and excitement of the sport have gone from Kilian’s life, most members of the team departed, one way or another, as he stands alone at the opening, freezing by a graveside.
Should he stay or should he go? Rural Ireland here has neither the community of J M Synge’s plays from a century ago, nor the ferocity with which Martin McDonagh invests updated Irish life in his Leenane plays.
There is a quieter purpose. Kilian has one source for the money he’d need to escape the place. But it means uprooting it from his friend Jimmy. The old man sits in his chair, showing where the cash is stashed, seeming not to care for it – while it’s there. As Kilian becomes keener to go, the idea of robbing Jimmy doesn’t even occur to him for a long time. Later, the idea produces anger from young Eilish and alarm from his friend Paudie.
Paudie’s just back from prison, so knows he’ll be number one suspect for any theft, while memories of being banged-up produce fear and revulsion in him. And the wide world will bring new challenges for Kilian, knowing only his own small locality.
Doyle’s script has prize-winning qualities, though when it goes into the big world of the London stage (the Finborough, while physically a small space, is a notable one) it enters somewhere redolent with memories of fine writers, reflective and melancholy about Ireland and life.
Which she applies to the new generation, and has some sparky dialogue exchanges, all given a fine airing by director David Mercatali and his strong cast
Killian: Kerr Logan.
Eilish: Yolanda Kettle.
Jimmy: Eric Richard.
Paudie: Charlie de Bromhead.
Director: David Mercatali.
Designer: Max Dorey.
Lighting: Christopher Nairne.
Sound: Max Pappenheim.
Dramaturg: George Turvey.
Assistant director: Joshua McTaggart.