Defender of the Faith – Project Art Centre – Review


Defender of the Faith written by Stuart Carolan – at the Project Arts Centre.

First performed in 2004 at the Peacock, Decadent Theatre Company has brought a revival on a tour of Ireland visiting fifteen venues throughout the twenty six counties and are to be commended for this energetic touring policy. It now completes its tour with six performances in the Project. Owen MacCarthaigh has created a set which divides into three panels which rotate and in so doing provides various different backdrops including a kitchen interior of a farmhouse somewhere in Armagh in 1986, the exterior of a farm building and a dark lonely road. He is to be congratulated as the set’s flexibility helps the action of the play to move smoothly as the scene changes are easily executed with military precision which adds to the sensation of witnessing the activities of an unorthodox “army” at “war”. The members of this “army” are jittery and on edge as there is a belief that there is an informer in their midst. The procedures of this unorthodox “army” are unforgiving for an informer.

The acting of the performers is of a high calibre and the direction of Andrew Flynn ensures there is a great diversity in the characters of Joe (Peter Gowen), Barney (Lalor Roddy), J.J. (Diarmuid de Faoite) and Thomas (Michael John FitzGerald). Each has a different grim reality about him. The most blood curdling is J.J. as he is the slightest in physical appearance but yet the most unwavering in his belief in the cause for which he is fighting. His presence on stage is always intimidating. He stands in contrast to innocence represented by Danny (David Martin) who is but a kid who dreams of being a pilot like Biggles, a blast of nineteen fifties British nostalgia, in this unloyal outpost of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

At all times this impressive cast keep the audience in rapt attention. The subject matter is not pleasant as deceit, fanaticism, self-protection and violence mingle in an unholy mix. On leaving the theatre, a sense of being unsettled is pervasive.

Defender of the Faith at Project Art Centre.

24 November 2014-29 November 2014 8.00pm
Tickets €22.00/18.00

Review by Frank L.

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