The Harvest – New Theatre – Review
The Harvest by Jane McCarthy – until June 23rd
Charlotte (Melissa Nolan) has a troubled past. She has a history of drug and alcohol addiction brought on by a personal tragedy, but has been on the straight and narrow for a long time and is starting to get her life back together. Her son Evan (Fionn Foley) is the one rock in her life. She is volunteering at a local charity shop and her next step is a paid job. Her husband Malcolm (Marcus Lamb) is not so sure. He is worried that the stress of the situation will cause her to start using again. One day she brings a friend called Shane (John Morton) home from her group therapy. He stays for dinner which seems to annoy her husband Malcolm more than it should. Slowly it is revealed that Shane is not the perfect stranger he appeared to be.
This is a new play written by Jane McCarthy which explores a world of “second chances and second lives”. Jane is also a novelist and her first book, Honest, was shortlisted for the Irish Writer’s Novel Fair in 2015.
This production has a very impressive set by Lisa Krugel. Normally in the small space of the New Theatre, budgets are tight and a lot is left to the imagination. This production has gone to some expense to give us a flavour of a contemporary kitchen and it does add to the performance.
The cast get to grips with the complex characters with Marcus Lamb particularly catching the eye as the father figure Malcolm. Is he merely an overprotective husband, or is there more to his actions? The play is not so much a ‘whodunnit’ as we’re let into the secrets relatively early in the plot but are unsure of the details. None of the characters seem particularly reliable and the audience is left to figure out the details from the mass of deceits and half-truths. The story has a slow start, but once you figure out the direction of the plot it’s an enjoyable ride. At times, the plot is a little too complicated, as the story twists and turns but it does manage to tie up most of the loose ends. As with many thrillers, much weight is left on the ending, and this one pulls it off with something quite sinister. It is a play with a dark heart! This is one of the most accomplished pieces of new writing on stage in Dublin this year.
Director: Matthew Ralli
Cast: Fionn Foley, Marcus Lamb, John Morton & Melissa Nolan
Dramaturg: Pamela McQueen
Set Design: Lisa Krugel
Lighting Design: John Crudden
Sound Design: Dylan Tonge Jones
Stage Manager: Céin Sookram
Graphic Design: Leanne Willars
Poster image: Alan Craig