Old Flames – New Theatre – Review

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Old Flames – Review by Frances Winston

The New Theatre, 43 East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

Runs 28th July – 9th August at 7.30pm nightly

Tickets: €15/12

This new work from writer Shane Burke explores what happens when an interfering sister invites her now engaged younger sibling’s ex to paint their house. This should be a simple premise however it becomes overcomplicated when said painter employs a naïve sidekick.

Working with a set that depicts the living room of the girl’s house this work is one of those pieces that has potential but unfortunately falls flat. This is not helped by the fact that the set designer has created a coffee table out of a branded beer crate with a piece of wood sitting on top giving an effect that is more frat house than female co- inhabitants. While all the individual actors do a good job portraying their characters – especially Cal Kennedy as Jamie – none of them engage with each other. Rather than spontaneous thought they are waiting for their cues and this is attested by the fact that the night I attended the show ran over by a rather hefty ten minutes. Snappy dialogue is not order of the day.

There are some humorous moments in the script however there is a huge amount of telegraphing and lest we missed it first time round quite often it is repeated for effect. This comes at the expense of character development with much of what we learn about the characters feeling rather shoehorned in. The plot also becomes rather contrived after what is a decent start that shows potential. Not only is the ending an anti climax but in light of the events leading to it seems a bit inconsistent.

There are some funny moments and in jokes in this that will make you laugh and on the whole the basic idea is good. Unfortunately the lack of engagement amongst the cast removes you from the world of the play and ultimately leads to a feeling of dissatisfaction. Humorous but not as hilarious as it thinks it is if the cast can reign it back to it’s supposed 75 minute running time this has potential.

Old Flames runs at the New Theatre until the 9th of August.

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