The Last Summer is a new play written by Declan Hughes based around a college professor returning to his parents house after the death of his Mother, and having to face the world he left behind including his first love. It is split between two groups of actors, each playing the same character at different times in their lives, teenagers in 1977 and in their late 40’s in 2007, just before the recession has hit home.
The actor powered revolving set allows for the change between the two worlds, with the actors disappearing off stage and sometimes watching their younger or older selves from the side. The acting for the most part was impressive, and Sam McGovern (son of Barry) played the fresh faced Paul with suitable excitement and vigor. However, the writing never achieved the heights of Hughes’ previous work such as Shiver, and the piece never took life or demanded your attention. The knowing glances to the imminent collapse of the property market seemed a bit too self congratulatory and the inclusion of a property developer amongst Paul’s friends a bit too obvious. The play is at it’s best with the younger characters, who give a powerful rendition of the excitement and turmoil of their last summer in school.
The Last Summer runs until the 3rd of November at the Gate Theatre.