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Intentions – Civic Theatre – Review

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Intentions – Civic Theatre – Review by C MacNamara

DATE & TIME: Tues, 7th – Sat, 11th April // 8:15pm

The Moogles Theatre Company
Director/Writer: Alice Lynch
Starring: Bernie O’Reilly, Catherine McKiernan Ryan, Aisling Soden, Erin Lynch

Does raw enthusiasm trump subtly? Intentions, a play written by Alice Lynch and produced by The Moogles Theatre Company attempts to declare yes, with a laundry list of clever concepts that come to be somewhat undermined by clichés and rogue flat one-liners. The story is one in which the morbidities of middle age and personal loss are paired with comedy pulled straight from the pages of Father Ted. A trio of female homebodies spend the duration of a music festival huddled around their respective tents exchanging cakes, cups and backstories, whilst a comatose drunk acts as a dainty set piece for the impromptu tea party.

Clever concept, now if only the characters would refrain from calling everyone ‘feckers’ and occasionally channelling the spectre of Ms Doyle. The writing establishes an initial solid setup and witty cast of characters, but occasionally runs into errors in the execution; case in point being the occasional awkward silences that develop when an actor must interact with a prop. Rather than continue the dialogue with the remaining two leads, a stiff wine cork or elusive tea bag can threaten the pacing, with both cast and audience waiting for the kettle to boil in abject silence.

Writing misdemeanours aside, there are plenty of pick-me-ups to be found that help smooth out some of the productions creases, namely Bernie O’Reilly; whose animated performance showcases a level of emotion and authenticity that comes far out of left field for someone who spent many years off the stage and has only recently returned to it. A genuinely refreshing performance that often keeps the narrative going in spite of its drawbacks.

Ultimately this is a collection of clever ideas, arranged into a plot that simultaneously tries to satirize stereotypes, yet seeks to be taken seriously on an emotional level. An admirable and ambitious attempt, but one that feels unduly hampered on a technical level and risks compromising the viewer just as it has drawn them. Persevere through the pacing however and this is the typified diamond in the rough.

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