MEANwhile/ As Seen on Radio – Collaborations Festival – Smock Alley – Review


Collaborations Festival Review – MEANwhile and As Seen on Radio – Double Bill – Collaborations Festival 2015 – Smock Alley – Review by Frank L.

MEANwhile presented by Cup Theatre Company

As Seen on Radio presented by the Angtgle Road Theatre Company

MEANwhile has the six performers in pairs, clad in their black simple costumes and shod in black boots, strategically placed in the Boy Schools space including two of them on the gang way. While their presence and their movements, as the audience is taking their places, appears to be relatively benign there is an underlying sense of threat. The performance begins with two of the women wanting to join the sisterhood of the other four who are in some sort of community. There is a short list of artefacts to be brought to the “interview” including a shot glass and an object of personal value. When the two arrive they are subjected to an initiation ceremony. So the initial feeling of threat was well placed.

The six actors move around the stage which has three chairs and a table in a choreographed and stylised manner which underlines the sense of initiation. The two “new girls” are subjected to a few humiliations and then matters become more complex when three of the initiated turn on the fourth. The atmosphere is not benign and becomes increasingly humiliating.

Cast – Kate Gilmore, Clodagh Mooney Duggan, Ashleigh Dorrell, Teri FitzGerald, Gemma Kane and Cara Christie.

As Seen on Radio has a local radio presenter Brendan Feeney (Lorcan Strain) and Anna O’Dowd (Caoimhe Cassidy) sitting in their studio. Their audience is cleverly represented by a listener Louise Donlon seated in one of the high up theatre’s niches who spasmodically engages with what is being broadcast. Caoimhe Cassidy also plays the role of a variety of interviewees (both male and female) including a GAA manager and a nun. Appropriately the broadcast is continuously interrupted by local ads which splendidly includes one for a funeral home with the prattle similar to that regularly heard for the sale of beds, sofas or whatever. The three actors have a good grip on the comic aspect which is at its best when the script tracks the patter and platitudes which bespatter radio both local and national. This work in progress, to use the slogan from the Collaborations festival, is a “tiny story” which when further investigated and considered could be developed into a story with much potential.

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