The End – New Theatre – Review by Frances Winston
The New Theatre, 43 East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.
January 26th – 31st @ 7.30pm nightly.
Mouth on Fire Theatre Company are held in high regard for their interpretations of Samuel Beckett’s work and have travelled the world performing his classic pieces. Their aim is to make Beckett accessible to everybody and their track record is certainly excellent in that regard. This latest addition to their catalogue was originally written in French in 1946 and later translated into English by Beckett and Richard Seaver. Starring Marcus Lamb, who was recently seen on screens playing Dessie O’Malley in Charlie, it tells the story of a man who was expelled from an institution and sent out into the world despite being unwell. He recounts his attempts to find shelter, his encounters with others and his eventual end. Or does he? The storyteller often struggles to remember the exact facts so the audience is never really sure if this is his tale or some sort of fantasy.
Engaging an audience on your own for an hour is a big ask of any actor but Marcus manages it admirably. He plays with the language like a musician plays with notes. With a stage that is bare except for a bench and a bowler hat he has little to work with but his own physicality and he completely immerses himself in the role. The sparseness of the stage contrasts nicely with Paul Doran’s lighting design which is used to great effect at key points in the tale snapping the audience out of any complacency. Of course it helps that the prose is deliciously witty and dark in equal measure. It is impossible not to listen to this without being taken on a journey. Having someone act it out is just the icing on the cake. Cathal Quinn’s direction is simple but effective. This is the kind of story that doesn’t need bells and whistles to move it along and he resists the temptation to embellish it unnecessarily.
Surprisingly moving you will find yourself feeling for the man who seems to have been born as lost as we first encounter him. You share in his highs and lows and when the lights go down you find yourself wanting to know more.
Another excellent Beckett interpretation from Mouth on Fire this is only running until the end of the month so do yourself a favour and see it before it’s finished.
The End runs at the New Theatre until Jan 31st.