The Snapper – Gate Theatre – Review
Until 15th September
Photo Credit: Ste Murray
At the start of this production, Sharon (Hazel Clifford) walks through the audience, onto the stage and stands in front of her parents. She utters two words that will change their lives forever; ‘I’m pregnant’.
The play is set in the late 1980s. It is the story of one Sharon Rabbitte, a 20 year old living with her parents who becomes pregnant after an encounter with a man she’d rather forget. She refuses to tell anyone the name of the father. She decides to keep the child and slowly starts to tell her family and friends. She quickly becomes the talk of the town and there is much discussion on who the identity of the father could be. That is until one unlikely candidate starts to come to the fore.
The Snapper was originally a book, the second novel in The Barrytown Trilogy, written by Roddy Doyle in 1990. It was later converted into a film of the same name by director Stephen Frears in 1993, which starred Colm Meaney as the troubled father. It was a small BBC production that went on to huge success, with Meaney nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance.. The film is still much loved as it captured inner city Dublin in a way never shown before on screen.
It is challenging to take on an iconic part such as Jimmy, made famous by Meaney, but Simon Delaney is an ideal choice for the role, and has the natural wit to carry off the part. The other main protagonist is Sharon, who is played by Hazel Clifford, a recent graduate of the Lir. The role requires a certain brashness with much sensitivity behind it, and she does well with it. The other roles of family and friends are relatively minor but Kate Gilmore is enjoyable as Sharon’s best friend Jackie.
The stage is a celebration of the 80s, with everything from Smash Hits covers to bad wallpaper covering the backdrop. There are also televisions embedded in the walls giving us flashes of Blankety Blank and Aertel pages. There are four main locations created by moveable platforms filled with furniture and framed out by steel and neon. Set designer Paul Wills seemed to revel in the task at hand and the set is integral to the play, with the characters changing the locations between scenes.
The piece gives an impression of Irish society in the late 1980s and shows the morals of the time. It is obvious that much has changed, with the recent referendum still fresh in our minds, but there is also much we can still recognise. The production is stylish and fast paced, however there are a few scenes that could have been cut to help the overall flow, especially in the second act. While the film version has many comedic moments, the play adds to them with most scenes getting a laugh of some description. It is a light hearted entertainment, so as long as you’re not expecting anything too cerebral, you’ll leave with a smile on your face. Nothing too taxing for the long summer nights, but enjoyable none the less!
The Snapper by Roddy Doyle
Cast: Mia Barry, Niamh Branigan, Alannah Browne, Hazel Clifford, Jason Cullen, Simon Delaney, Kayleigh Farrelly, Hilda Fay, Kate Gilmore, Amy Macken, Holly McGuinness, Simon O’Gorman, Abby Redmond, Cameron Simpson, Carmel Stephens & Amilia Stewart
Director – Róisín McBrinn
Set & Costume Design – Paul Wills
Lighting Design – Paul Keogan
Sound Design – Sinéad Diskin
Choreographer – Paula O’Reilly
Video Design – Conan McIvor
Assistant Director – Mollie Molumby