Orphans – New Theatre – Review


Orphans by Lyle Kessler – New Theatre

Orphans is the tale of two brothers, Phillip and Treat who live together in a dilapidated house. Treat is the older of the two and makes his living though acts of violence, stealing from people on the streets. He is a man with a short fuse, and explodes at regular intervals. Phillip is the younger sibling who suffers from allergies and is afraid to go outside. When Treat encounters Harold drunk in a bar, he draws him back to his house to rob him. However, Harold is more than he initially seems, and is not taken for a fool as easily as Treat expects!

Orphans was written by Lyle Kessler and premièred in 1983 in Los Angeles. Since then there have been several notable versions including a Broadway production with Alec Baldwin and Ben Foster. The play is said to be a favourite of Tom Waits and Lou Reed, and it is easy to see why. This is a well written piece, that is reminiscent of early Jim Jarmusch films, with a certain sense of wildness and ambiguity of character. For many this will be a first chance to see it on stage in Dublin.

The stage of the New theatre has been transformed into the living room of the run down house, complete with sofa and kitchen table. There is a window in one corner of the stage, through which Phillip views the world outside, watching and imitating the people who pass by.

This co-production is the first for new theatre companies Alchemy 8 and Breaking Good, and it is an impressive starting point. The three main actors account themselves well, in this complex tale where the ground frequently shifts under the feet of the protagonists. It is one for fans of American independent film and theatre, and is an enjoyable tale of those dwelling on the wrong side of the law.

Alchemy 8 Productions and Breaking Good Productions

From Feb 16th – Feb 28th @ 7.30pm
Tickets: €15 (€12 conc.)

Cast (in order of appearance)

Phillip – Kyle Hixon,

Treat – Jason Gilroy

Harold – Michael Bates


Director – Geraldine McAlinden

Lighting Design – David Doyle

Set Design – Bosco Dillon

Costume – Jessica Dunne

Executive Producer – Lisa McNamee

Producers – Elaine Reddy, Geraldine McAlinden and Jason Gilroy

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