The Book of Condolences – Theatre@36 – Review by Frank L.
22nd February 2016 to the 27th February 2016 – Tickets available here.
The title of the play gives an indication of the theme which is the essence of this piece… who is next? On entering the auditorium there lies a large coffin made of a glossy light coloured wood suitably bedecked with a fancy cream satin lining, with its lid lying vertical against the wall. As the play starts one of the first facts that is revealed is that the coffin is empty. There are five possible characters who may be the one to play the role of filling the coffin. The cover to the programme notes gives a hint that there is intended to be levity in the search because placed prominently on top of the “The Book of Condolences” is a small bespangled fairy wand. And lo and behold one of the candidates for the box is a forty year old fairy and the others are a motley crew of an actor’s agent, an actor, a barrister and even the grim reaper. So the play is set in a world which requires some mental agility and uses all sorts of stage craft to drive it along including good old fashioned Vaudeville as the Billy Cotton 1930’s variety song “Nobody loves a fairy when she’s forty” has an unexpected airing.
This is the first production by Monaincha Theatre. It is ambitious in scale as the realistic, carefully constructed set demonstrates. This is also a new work by novelist and playwright Kieron Connolly, who is known for plays such as ‘Tuesday’ and novels such as ‘Water Sign’ and ‘There is a House’. Monaincha have shown bravery and initiative to take on something of this size and scope for their first production. The play requires the audience to enter into a series of unlikely scenarios and while this worked well in the first part, the period after the interval was directed at what seemed a much slower pace not assisted by the text itself which appeared to become repetitious. This lack of momentum left the cast somewhat stranded. However at no stage did they appear to lose their enthusiasm for the unlikely task of finding a candidate for the box.
The Book of Condolences – Theatre@36
22nd February 2016 to the 27th February 2016
Written by Kieron Connolly
Directed by Vincent Smith
Categories: Header, Theatre, Theatre Review
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