Remember to Breathe at Boys School – Smock Alley Theatre – Review by P McGovern
Orla Murphy’s new play which opened last night touches on themes of emigration and consequent sense of loss and separation, painful remembrance of things past, the struggle to conquer old fears and phobias and reshape our lives. The Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake frames the action but the play’s core focuses on a father-daughter relationship and the fallout, for both, from the economic collapse of seven years ago.
As the central character, Maeve, Liz Fitzgibbon is consistently convincing as a reluctant emigrant, alternating between hope and dejection, optimism and apprehension. Raymond Keane as her father also impresses, especially in the scenes recollected by Maeve where the warmth and intimacy between them are palpable. However, the character is slightly underdeveloped. A little more insight into his mind (without making too explicit what motive, if any, he had for what happens to him eventually) would make for a more satisfying character. His slow motion movement across the stage towards the end was just one of many imaginative and finely realised moments. With her bundled-up energy and can-do Kiwiness, Geraldine McAlinden’s swimming coach pulls nicely against the quietness of the other two, even if at times it was hard to avoid feeling that concentration on accent got in the way.
The play might benefit from a little rewriting. For example, if Maeve’s husband, Grant, is the reason for her going to NZ, it is strange that he does not figure in the scene back home where his presence would have made such a difference to Maeve, or at least a reference to the reason for his absence.
Eoin Lennon’s lighting and the Sound Design by Chris Maynard and Enda Roche combine to shift us from past to present and from “home” to down under. The hour-long performance flies past – always a good sign in a busy week.
Starring – Liz Fitzgibbon as MAEVE, Raymond Keane as JOHNNY and Geraldine McAlinden as DOREEN.
Dates Sep 09 — 12.
Other performances Sep 12 @ 13:00.
Tickets €14 / €12 conc.
Duration 55 mins.
Venue: Smock Alley Theatre Boys’ School
Categories: Festivals, Header, Theatre, Theatre Review
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