The Games People Play – Civic Theatre – Review

Civic Theatre – Monday, 20th – Saturday, 25th April // 8:15pm

Written by Gavin Kostick
Directed by Bryan Burroughs
Presented by Rise Productions
Cast – Aonghus Óg McAnally & Lorna Quinn

We are introduced to Oisín as he is putting together a snooker table for his son Oscar’s birthday. His wife Niamh has just put their youngest child to bed and opened a bottle of wine. They decide to try out their son’s present. It is not just a snooker table, but converts into a variety of other games, 34 in total. They talk about the party they have planned for Oscar and the various things they need to buy for it. It slowly becomes clear that even this small event is a challenge financially due to their reduced circumstances.

Niamh and Oisín are a young couple living through the aftermath of the Celtic Tigers years. They’re struggling to make their meagre earnings stretch until the end of the month. They both have irregular work and the stress of their financial situation is causing problems in their relationship. The story covers a lot of ground as the couple discuss topics such as sex, politics, finance and memories of their younger years, their early romance and when they were newly weds. It is a uniquely Irish piece with politicians and place names setting the time. Mentions of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and even former minster for health James Reilly are not pleasant reminders!

This play was originally performed as part of the the Fringe Festival in 2013. It is interesting that while this play is less than two years old, the mood of the nation has altered substantially and it already feels like another age. It is an impressive piece of acting as the two cast members perform while playing a number of games; snooker, chess and cards. It’s an interesting device and introduces an element of chance into the performances as they react to the random nature of the games. This is a stimulating tale of financial difficulties, emigration and the complexities of life in modern Ireland.

Civic Theatre – Monday, 20th – Saturday, 25th April // 8:15pm

Categories: Header, Theatre, Theatre Review

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