I must admit to have been put off going to this by what I had heard of the plot, the story of ‘violence and forgiveness’ set in Northern Ireland does not sound like an enjoyable night at the theatre, but word of mouth on the play had reached a level I could not ignore.
The play is based in a small pub in Belfast, and Alyson Cummins set delivers it perfectly, down to the subtleties of the hooks for coats under the bar, and barrage of decoders for the TV. This small world is created for the three characters to develop within. Ian is a regular in the pub, and warns the Polish bar man Robert that there is a man coming later, and there may be some shouting, but it shouldn’t go beyond that. These initial few words set the tone for the ominous arrival later in the play.
In truth all the violence has already long since happened, and while the fury of Ian (Patrick O’Kane) is evident throughout, it only boils over in one brief moment. The play delves deep into the wounds that are still evident in Northern Ireland, and are shown by the disputes and riots taking place over the last week. While there is a peace process in place, there are still many there that have lost loved ones, and can they ever truly forgive and forget.
Patrick O’Kanes performance is quite stunning, and to conjure up such passion on a nightly basis must be hugely demanding of the actor. The story of the play is quite simple, but the drip feed delivery of the facts and attention to the minute detail throughout make it seem real and vivid. It is a powerful piece of work, and will last with you long after you leave the theatre.
Quietly runs until the 15th of December at the Peacock theatre, with tickets still available for €18-25.