At Sea – New Theatre – Tiger Dublin Fringe Review – Review by Helen O’Leary
This play performed to a full house last night so it seems word has already spread that this production by Just the Lads is something special. It’s a piece based on company member’s personal encounters with dementia. There is no storyline, but then dementia doesn’t obey straight lines and in this piece we encounter a mind that loops and coils with memories and imagination.
Rodger was once a fisherman. His youthful memories are of the sea and he imagines an elusive fish he has tried to catch for a very long time. Rodger struggles with the fish but like trying to recall a memory it keeps slip sliding out of his grasp. The dialogue of this piece has many references to Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea and would also bring to mind Finnegas’s long waterside vigil in the Salmon of Knowledge story.
Peter Corboy gives a mesmerizing performance as Rodger. He starts off as an old man with an over sized paper-mache head, spindly limbs and an unsteady gait. It’s quite a surprise when he casts his mask aside and springs into the youthful vigour of his past self.
Rodger’s mind is in turmoil and the internal chatter is heard with the help of two musicians, guitarist Cameron Macauley and Anna Clifford playing the cello, performing live on stage. The external environment encroaches with the interrogating voice of a doctor asking inane questions heard through a wireless!
So throw in an Elvis performance, a moon landing, the sea area forecast, dramatic lighting effects, photo images and live musical performances and how could this all work I hear you ask? It just does!
This production is about the transformation of body and mind that old age brings. It seems to say we’re equally as alive when infirm and doting as when young and exuberant. And the experiences of dementia are as valid, real and worthy and perhaps more fantastical than any youthful endeavours. An obvious point but I left the New Theatre last night feeling slightly enlightened.
At Sea – New Theatre – Tiger Dublin Fringe – New Theatre, until Sat 13th @8.15. Tickets €13/15
Directed by Darren Sinnott and Liadain Kaminska
Music by Cameron Macaulay and Anna Clifford
Performed by Peter Corboy