Good Evening, Mr. Collins – Mill Theatre – Review

Good Evening, Mr. Collins

Good Evening Mr. Collins – Mill Theatre Dundrum – Review

Date:  11th May – 21st May
Show time:  8pm
Admission:  €18/€16 Previews 11th & 12th: €14

Michael Collins was one of those involved in the 1916 rising, serving as Plunkett’s aide-de-camp in the GPO. He was arrested at the end of the rising and imprisoned in Frongoch internment camp in Wales. After his release he was one of the leaders that rose to fill the vacuum in the independence movement. He died in August 1922, as the Civil War was coming to an end. He is a character that continues to fascinate and the 1996 Neil Jordan biopic has become one of the most important Irish films of recent years.

This 1995 play by Tom MacIntyre takes a very different slant from the film, and delves into the more personal aspects of the man in a playful and at times surreal fashion. It assumes the viewer has a full knowledge of the events leading up to Collins’ death and never attempts to fill in the details. Instead it focuses on his mental confusion along with his sexual liaisons with three women; Kitty Kiernan, Moya Llewelyn Davies and Hazel Lavery. Some well known characters from the period make appearances, with GB Shaw, Johnny Lavery, Cathal Brugha and Arthur Griffiths all featuring in various scenes. The other major character in the play is Éamon de Valera, who is played as the villain of the piece, but is also a strangely comic creation.

The play does not have a strong linear narrative but instead uses a series of conversations, dreams and flights of the imagination, to allow the audience to see inside the head of our main protagonist. The production was quite uneven, with some scenes very successful while others fell flat. Collins is shown as a complex man, driven by his passions and struggling to settle for a quiet life. The story is somewhat confusing, as we drift between different aspects of his life and the audience is required to pay close attention. Those without a good knowledge of Irish history would get little from it, and it is very clearly aimed at a local audience. This play was first produced by the Abbey theatre in 1995. This new production by the Mill Theatre is to celebrate their 10th anniversary.


Categories: Header, Theatre, Theatre Review

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