All history of this vintage must be taken with a pinch of salt, but as legend would have it, Brian Boru was killed by a number of fleeing Norsemen who stumbled upon his tent at the edge of the Battle of Clontarf, on the 23rd of April 1014. The thousand year anniversary make it the perfect time for this new play. This work aims to add flesh to the bones of the story, in a tale of two brothers who fall on opposite sides of enemy lines. This is not based on historical fact, but is rather a story of witchcraft, sword fights, epic battles, and the demise of a great King.
This is largely a two hander, with Shane Connaughton appearing by projection only, in a non speaking role as Boru. The two actors Andrew Kenny and Daithi Mac Suibhne stand to attention at the front of the stage as you enter the theatre, with their arms to their sides like action figures. Once the story begins the pair are animated, telling their fantastic adventure story.
The stage is simple, with a white sheet used as the back drop of the set, along with barrels, rope and other accoutrements of the sea. The two brothers are travelers, who arrive in Ireland over the ocean, and the stage is meant to represent this world.
There is impressive use of sound in the piece, as the various battles, and also the strange omens and witchcraft are played over the sound system of the venue.
As someone who never made it past episode four of Games of Thrones, despite several efforts, the world of fantasy is not normally my thing. However, this story captures the human side of the adventure, and the tale of the two brothers does compel the viewer. The two actors carry the piece along with pace, and it is an enjoyable trip to another age and world. At just about an hour long, it does not over stay its welcome and the two main performers deserve considerable praise.
The Assassination of Brian Boru runs at the New Theatre until Apr 19th @ 7.30pm
Tickets: €15 / €12 (conc)
Director: Nora Kelly Lester
Cast: Andrew Kenny, Daithi Mac Suibhne and Shane Connaughton.
Producer: Anthony Fox
Fight Co-ordinator: Tristan McConnell