by Mark O’Rowe.

Citizens Theatre 119 Gorbals Street G5 9DS 17-21 May 2011.
Tue-Sat 8pm Mat Sat 3pm.

TICKETS: 0141 429 0022.
Runs 1hr 45min No interval.
Review: Martin Franks 30 April at The Arts Theatre, Cambridge.

Writer and actors’ tour de force which is somehow less than the sum of its parts.
This tour of Mark O’Rowe’s extraordinary play (reviewed by Carole Woddis at London’s Young Vic) revives a piece which originated in 2007, won a Fringe First, then toured in 2008 and 2009. So how is this current tour standing up in the Regions?

It’s not an easy play to get your head round and the half-full theatre at the end of a three- night Cambridge run showed the bush telegraph had not been over-active. The blast of the three interwoven monologues demands intense attention to the bravura, raucous, rococo poetic prose to stand a hope of understanding what’s going on.

The apparently independent life stories of murder, abuse, abandonment, foul broom-rape, satanic trysts and soulful flights across Dublin are finally linked into a neat chaotic denouement. But up to that point the mind’s chasing glorious verbal image after absurd contemplation and a verbal diarrhoea of pounding tale-telling and fantastical imaginings and ruminations.

And finally, it’s unfulfilling. Undoubtedly clever; the linguistic game-playing comes beautiful tripping off the tongue even when its subject matter is sadistic and vulgar. If any extra proof’s needed that the Irish write with their ears than look no further.

But such a tremendous game and subject matter, even with the intensity of monologue, should be woven into something to care about, rather than just a writer’s and actors’ indulgent tour-de-force. It’s a memorable evening which could have been more than an opportunity to show-off theatrical skill.

A: Olwen Fouere.
B: Catherine Walker.
C: Declan Conlon.

Director: Mark O’Rowe.
Designer/Costume: Jon Bausor.
Lighting: Philip Gladwell.
Sound: Philip Stewart.

2011-05-03 00:36:28

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