The Spinning Heart – Smock Alley – Review


The Spinning Heart – Smock Alley – Review

11, 12, 13 + 16 Jul | 7:30pm | Main Space

This is based on the Donal Ryan book which was published in 2012. While it was the second book written by Ryan, it was the first to be published. The book was long listed for the Booker prize and won the Guardian First Book Award, and launched the career of Ryan. You can read our review here.

The book tells the story of small town life in post-crash Limerick. It takes the form of a collection of interwoven short stories, each written in first person narrative. They feature a variety of characters, each suffering in their own way from the recession. The main character of the book is Bobby Mahon, the local GAA hero and small time builder, but we also get to meet a multitude of local folk such as single mothers, immigrants, local children, business owners etc.

This new production by Articulate Anatomy aims to take the original subject matter and recreate it for the stage. The book converts easily, with the series of monologues allowing the ensemble cast to give a wide depiction of small town life in Ireland. There is no set and the actors use a number of chairs and white picket fences to depict a variety of scenes. The monologues do not require a firm location or setting and the movement of the actors and lighting works well.

This play is a showcase for the graduating class from the Gaiety School of Acting and the thirteen member cast are given a good work out by the wide range of characters and ideas on display. An obvious gripe is that a number of the cast have to play parts that are not age specific for the actor, and it’s a struggle to lose yourself in these scenes. Having said that, there are a number of extremely well depicted characters and very funny moments. Large pieces of the text are taken directly from the book and the strength of Ryan’s language really shines through.

Duration: 2 hours plus a 15 minute interval

Directed by Paul Brennan




Categories: Header, Theatre, Theatre Review

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