Dinner in Mulberry Street – Bewley’s Cafe Theatre – Review by Frank L.
Adapted by James Ford from the short story by Fitz-James O’Brien
From December 03 – 22, 2018
Photos by Futoshi Sakauchi.
Featuring Jamie O’Neill, Ashleigh Dorrell and Fabiano Roggio.
This play is based on a short story by Fitz-James O’Brien, who was born in 1828 in Cork and died of his wounds in the American Civil War, having fought on the Union side, in 1862. He led a colourful life. This play concerns a young girl, Agnes (Ashleigh Dorrell), who unwisely married for love and thereby managed to cut off her inheritance. Her husband Dick (Jamie O’Neill) was needless to say penniless. They are living in a New York tenement in the middle of a bitterly cold winter with snow lying outside. They have no food and are at their wit’s ends. In order to assuage their hunger, they fantasize about an imaginary meal which forms a central part of the plot.
Both Dorell and O’Neill are terrific in the serving and eating of the imaginary meal, particularly their joint act of opening a bottle of wine. There is added to the story an Italian Olive Oil dealer, Giacomo (Fabiano Roggio), who has in his past an unlikely connection with Dick. Roggio being himself Italian adds to the verisimilitude of the piece and needless to say makes Giacomo a convincing character. With the off stage sounds of a Christmas carol permeating the stage the festive season makes its inimitable presence felt.
Andrew Murray’s set evokes well the feel of a grim tenement room and Nicola Burke’s costumes add a fine Victorian feel. This play is Bewley’s Cafe Theatre’s Christmas play. Given its setting in poverty in a cold winter, it manages to capture in an unlikely story the spirit of the festive season. It generates a positive vibe and is very enjoyable.
Set design by Andrew Murray. Costume design by Nicola Burke.
Lighting design by Colm Maher