Beryl and Eejit – Theatre Upstairs – Review by Frank L.
Until Sept 9th
Beryl (Helen Roche) and Eejit (Billie Traynor) are two sisters, who live together in the family home. Their mother died sometime previously. They have an ungenerous, competitive relationship which provides the necessary drive to keep their brains alert. The play begins with each of them, in turn, indulging in petty acts of spite against the other. Their antics create amusement. Eejit is a longstanding nickname of Beryl’s for her sister whose real name is Edith. Needless to say Edith resents it.
Their daily routines having been revealed, there is then a bombshell unleashed into their confined world, by a solicitor’s letter. It relates to the title of “their” house. From here the plot twists and turns. The sisters remember bits and pieces of the past, in particular their mother’s relationship with a man with whom she was friendly. This recounting of the past diverts the attention from the sisters’ relationship which had been the dominating opening theme. As the events described are delivered piecemeal and are out of the ordinary, the impetus of their common story is considerably weakened.
The set is that of a domestic kitchen. It contains the usual paraphernalia with a nice touch of a skimpy, thin cotton curtain ungenerously covering a window. The kitchen table is covered by an oil cloth which has, within its pattern, black and white snaps of family occasions. The two kitchen chairs are suitably utilitarian. It all chimes together and gives verisimilitude to the pinched world in which Beryl and Eejit live.
The environment of two elderly females living under the one roof is a topic which is increasingly becoming worthy of investigation, for a variety of reasons. Inevitably the past will intrude on their thoughts and actions as they handle the present. It was a pity therefore that so much of their common past verged on the extremely unlikely. A more mundane common past would have better served the two bickering protagonists as they exist in 2017.
Beryl and Eejit – Written by Billie Traynor