Silent by Pat Kinevane.
Peacock Theatre, 26 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1. (Beneath Abbey Theatre). To 16 June 2012. 8:00pm.
30 May – 16 June (Wed. – Sat. 8:00pm).
Runs 75 mins. No Interval.
Tickets: 00 3531 8787 222 www.abbeytheatre.ie
Review: Michael Paye 1 June 2012.
The Silence couldn’t be better broken.
Playwright and actor Pat Kinevane breaks the silence with a superb, one-man performance.
Pat Kinevane’s Silent has begun its run in The Peacock theatre in Dublin. This extraordinary play is the recipient of the Scotsman’s Fringe First and Herald Angel awards at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 2011, and it is easy to see why.
The story involves Tino, named for silent film icon Rudolph Valentino, a homeless man suffering from depression and alcoholism brought on by the suicide of his brother, Pearse, named for Irish 1916 Rising revolutionary, Pádraig Pearse.
The issues with which the play deals are particularly poignant in Ireland, which has a high suicide rate, and the play’s title rightly suggests that nobody is addressing it. Equally, Tino’s haunting refrain, “If anyone asks, I’m not here at all, alright?”, reminds us that nobody is really interested in listening to the dispossessed members of society.
Kinevane’s performance is extraordinary, as he takes on multiple personas, including that of his attention seeking mother, his gay, victimised brother, various mental health professionals, and many others. Silent has never had so many poignant referents, as the homeless, along with those suffering from mental health issues, and those who are damned for their very sexuality, are finally given centre stage.
What is truly impressive about this tour de force performance is Kinevane’s ability to hold the house, to switch between characters, mental states, to jocularly chat with random audience members, yet never lose the plot. The lighting is expertly used to evoke different moments and moods, with a particularly impressive night club scene being one of many skilfully crafted effects. A simple black backdrop, with some placards which Tino uses to entitle various suicide attempts by Pierce, which are old titles of Rudolph Valentino movies, give wonderfully vivid structure to this one man masterpiece. Equally, the choreography, sound and direction is sublime.
This is a hilarious black comedy in which you are invited to laugh and weep with Tino, and the silenced, betrayed man needs your participation for his last great performance. The message is clear: the only way to break the silence is to hear the voices of those whom our apathy has hushed.
Pat Kinevane: Tino Mc Goldrig.
Director: Jim Culleton.
Costume Designer: Catherine Condell.
Sound designer: Denis Clohessy.
Producer: Marketa Dowling.