The Mouth of a Shark – The Complex – Review
11 March – 6.30pm, 12-15 March – 8.30pm
The cast of the Mouth of a Shark immediately look interesting as they step onto the stage. They are three women and one man, all from different ethnic backgrounds and dressed in a variety of unusual clothing. The play takes the form of a song cycle, largely based around emigration. The text is taken from a series of interviews with asylum seekers here in Ireland along with Irish emigrants. It aims to compare the two stories and to give an insight into how migrants see Ireland.
This is part of Thisispopbaby’s series of plays, talks and concerts called ‘Where We Live’, which is presented as part of the St. Patrick’s festival. It is impressive to see the festival move away from parades and face painting onto cultural events such as this. Thisispopbaby are one of the more interesting theatre companies to emerge from Ireland and they attract a diverse audience. Their recent alternative cabaret show Riot toured internationally and they also found success with works such as Alice in Funderland in the Abbey (2012).
The production is directed by Oonagh Murphy, who recently worked on Tribes at the Gate theatre. She is a director that puts a unique spin on a production and this work is no different. The music for the production was composed by Maeve Stone, who was previously involved with the Shitstorm in last year’s Fringe Festival. The musical arrangements are diverse. The work is often synth based but includes drums and bass. There is a simplicity in their structure so as not to over shadow the voices on stage. The four singers have different vocal ranges and carry out four-part harmonies while singing in unison. We hear snippets of recorded interviews and often the lyricism of the speaker’s voice is captured, with their natural flow transformed into the basis of a song. There is slow steady movement on stage as the performers take different poses, often staring directly into the audience.
Some of the best moments of the piece are when we hear how asylum seekers see Ireland. It is surprisingly positive but the piece largely ignores the difficulties of direct provision. Instead, we hear their thoughts on their adopted home. They see Ireland as a hopeful place, while not shying away from issues such as racism and homophobia. It’s a work that aims to show how diverse and multicultural Ireland has become in recent years; a topic well worth exploring.
Directed by Oonagh Murphy
Composed by Maeve Stone
Produced by Karen Twomey
WHERE WE LIVE TEAM
Directors Jennifer Jennings & Phillip McMahon
Producer Lara Hickey
Producer Jennifer Jennings
Associate Producer Carla Rogers
Marketing & Sponsorship Manager Tom Lawlor
Production Manager Adam Fitzsimons
PR/Publicist Shell Holden
Lighting Designer Sarah Jane Shiels
Production Designer Jack Phelan
Graphic Design Pony Ltd.