Variance by Stewart Roche – Review by Frank L.
Irish/American actor, Ranae von Meding, is the sole performer in this one woman show. The action starts in Jennifer’s home in the suburbs of Chicago, where she lives with her husband and two children. It then migrates to downtown Chicago before returning to the family home the following day. The trip downtown is precipitated by her husband’s cell phone which contains incriminating information. She follows the information and becomes entangled in a story larger than her husband’s peccadiloes.
Given the inevitable number of characters that a night on the town is likely to generate and given that the play is just under an hour in duration von Meding has a fair challenge on her hands to delineate the various individuals that Jennifer encounters. For the most part, she succeeds but one or twice I was taken a little short and wondered “who is this now?”. The set which consists of a free standing couple of steps, a selection of plinths and a back drop partly covered by a cloth serve the action well as von Meding uses the entire stage.
The story line is not a smug one, in fact it is a bit gruesome, but it is worthwhile to see a play set in city different to our all-too-familiar Dublin milieu which depicts the strains in a marriage set in what is a moderately comfortable Chicago suburb, rather than a bleak wasteland of ill-considered housing development in the middle of nowhere where money is too tight to mention. This comfortable “normality” gives the piece an edge.
CAST – Ranae Von Meding as Jennifer
Director / Audrey Rooney
Set Design / Janneke Kelly
Producer / Steven Masterson
Variance runs at Theatre Upstairs from May 20th – May 31st
1PM Performances: Tuesday – Saturday (May 20th – 24th / May 27th – 31st)
7PM Performances: Thursday – Saturday (May 22nd – 24th / May 29th – 31st)
Tickets: €10 / €8 (student concession)
Includes light lunch at 1PM performances.
Photographs by Al Craig.