THE GIFT OF LIGHTNING
by David Gilna.
Red Lightning Productions
Waterloo East Theatre Brad Street SE1 8TN To 31 July 2011.
Tue-Sat 7.30pm Sun 4pm.
Runs 1hr No interval
TICKETS: 020 7928 0060.
Review: Martin Franks 21st July at Waterloo East Theatre
A comic rite of passage for today’s young Irish.
This is the last play in Waterloo East’s splendid Irish Season, and it’s very much a contemporary snapshot of a momentary way-of-life for today’s young Irish. From a true storyline of a young Irishman struck by lightning in Boston, playwright David Gilna has woven a believable tale which starts with four students taking the opportunity to run away from modern Ireland’s many problems (and their overbearing parents – what’s new?) to liberation in the Irish capital of the USA.
The four experienced and talented cast members play out a series of scenes reflecting the trials of young people’s first dash for freedom. There is some lovely comedy around the dating game – the seductress girl teaching the over-enthusiastic ingénue, the shy and stumbling boy who turns out to want the other boys and the over-sexed lothario lead (played by Gilna himself) who at the height of his conquest is struck by lightning.
Which is where we’re introduced to the other half of the play. The confessions of the friends to their comatose companion, who turns out to be hearing every word. Then he comes round from his coma and they all return to their native land, Gilna’s character deciding that his near-death experience had made him a changed man, no longer driven by sexual hedonism.
It’s a very short play and despite the arc of the rite of passage, quite a slight one. Gilna could have interwoven the idea of the lightning strike more deeply into the narrative structure and avoided some of the clichés of young love – true as they might be. But if you want a few laughs and something to talk over as you head off to complete your evening with food and drink, Red Lightning Production’s premier is a good way to spend an hour.
Cast: David Gilna, Stephen Russell, Melissa Nolan, Slaine Kelly.
Director: Conal Kearney.
Lighting: David Laird.