Jezebel – Rough Magic – Civic Theatre – Review


Jezebel – Review by Emily Elphinstone

4th – 6th Feb: Civic Theatre, Tallaght

Traditionally, Jezebel is associated with promiscuity and manipulation; but that couldn’t be further from the truth in Mark Cantan’s play. Though Jezebel, from Rough Magic, centres on a threesome; it is much more delicate and well observed than one might imagine, and far from bawdy. As for the character of Jezebel herself, Valerie O’Connor plays the role with such a wonderful wide-eyed dizziness that you might want to give her a cup of tea, and advise her not to talk to strangers. Jezebel is the sort of character that’s so extreme in some ways that it would be hard to recognise as a real person, if only it weren’t so likely that we’ve all met someone like her: the sort of person who is completely honest about confusion toward the real world, and absolutely certain they’ve met their soul mate every time someone smiles in the right direction.

Cantan’s play is brilliantly written, and performed with impeccable comic timing by the whole cast. The three actors remain on stage throughout, and narrate each other’s stories; adding to the sense of just how intertwined these characters are, without ever feeling claustrophobic. Somehow, recognisable puns become hilarious again; and the characters are so well-observed, that the sight of a couple prowling around a club somehow feels more sweet than sordid, as they face the decisive moment of action.

The whole issue comes about from Alan (Peter Daly) and Robin (Margaret McAuliffe)’s attempts to spice up their sex life, in an attempt to keep the magic alive 8 months into their relationship. Both more comfortable in their chosen professions than in romance; even this decision comes from a ‘tit for tat’ business strategy. Both Daly and McAuliffe commit to the characters completely, remaining believable despite increasingly bizarre circumstances. In true ‘live to work’ style, the characters must run through a check list of likes/dislikes before they can jump into bed together, and each challenge is approached with a business mind – Alan reverts to Statistics to justify events, Robin keeps her methodical problem-solving approach.

As you may imagine in this odd-ball comedy, events escalate. But I don’t want to give away too much, in the hope that you’ll see for yourself. Suffice to say, Jezebel was laugh out loud funny, and so involving that more than one audience member shouted at the stage, finding it far easier than Alan and Robin to share the big news that they were struggling to tell each other!

Full details on Jezebel can be found at Rough Magic’s website.



Writer: Mark Cantan

Revival Director: Lynne Parker

Cast: Peter Daly, Margaret McAuliffe and Valerie O’Connor

Set & Lighting Designer: Ciarán O’Melia

Costume Designer: Deirdre Dwyer

Sound Designer: José Miguel Jiménez


4th – 6th Feb: Civic Theatre, Tallaght

7th – 8th Feb: Backstage Theatre, Longford

10th – 12th Feb Half Moon Theatre, Cork

14th – 15th Feb: Draiocht, Blanchardstown

17th Feb: Town Hall Theatre, Galway

19th Feb: Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny

21st – 22nd Feb: Theatre Royal, Waterford

25th – 26th Feb: Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise

27th Feb – 1st Mar: Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire

3rd – 5th Mar: the MAC, Belfast

7th – 8th Mar: Centre Culturel Irlandais

18th – 22nd Mar: Tron Theatre, Glasgow


Categories: Theatre, Theatre Review

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