Looking Deadly – Bewley’s Cafe Theatre – Review by P McGovern
January 29 – February 17, 2018 – Time: 1pm (doors at 12.50pm)
Written and performed by Niamh McGrath & Keith Singleton
Photo credit: Artur Gierwatowski.
Entering the theatre, a hushed atmosphere is conjured instantly by the dimmed lights, the quiet organ music, the muted greeting of black-clad funeral director-actors and then you spot the coffin on stage. All looks set for either a sad, human-interest story infused with reflection on life and death or perhaps, if we are lucky, an Orton-style dark comedy. In the end, what is get is neither. Looking Deadly doesn’t really live up to the clever pun of its title or to the promise of its setting.
Writer-actors Niamh McGrath and Keith Singleton people the stage with an array of characters, mainly two sets of competing rival small-town undertakers with the occasional mourner and so on. Scenes and locations change all the time, characters and accents adopted and dropped and phone calls are made. However, the piece seems uniformly heavy-handed and laboured. The verbal exchanges – irrespective of character – are far too similar, lack the finely-tuned ear for dialogue that such writing needs if it is to spark into life and no amount of South Kerry oul’ fella-ism or affected South Dublin millennial-ism can compensate. There are flashes of ideas and observations that could work but on this occasion never came to life.
Direction is by Amy Conroy. The show continues daily at Bewley’s Café Theatre, Mon. – Sat. daily at 1 pm until February 17th.