Appropriate – Bewley’s Café Theatre – Review by Paddy McGovern
It is rare enough to come across new writing that doesn’t need the description “new” for us to make allowance for inexperience. This revival of Sarah-Jane Scott’s one-act play, Appropriate, has the clarity and coherence of an established, mid-career writer and makes one look forward to the new play she has been developing with Druid’s Artist Development initiative, FUEL and as part of the Abbey Theatre’s 20for20 project.
A bride, clutching her bouquet, rushes on stage from her wedding reception next door. She is struggling to control “the thing” which she has experienced at a few key moments in her life. Is it a kind of panic attack? Or is it perhaps a moment of clear-headed realisation about what is happening in her life and what she wants – or needs – to do about it. How has she got here? Is it really the result of what she has decided for herself or have the expectations of family and friends and the community nudged her into choices she may soon regret? What girl in her right mind wouldn’t be thrilled to have landed a fine man, a senior hurler whose family run a good business?
Scott’s exploration of the pressures to do what is “appropriate”, to marry “well”, to resist commercially-generated images of romance, marriage and lifestyle and the well-meaning suggestions of friends and family makes for a really interesting and entertaining play. Acted by the writer herself, she relives various episodes in her life from adolescent infatuation through school (yes, the debs) and the world of young people struggling to shape their lives and relationships. The dialogue (with friends – and a rival too) is sharp. It is warm and humorous, intelligent and probing without ever being pretentious. The actor holds the audience effortlessly for the full hour. If you are looking for a diverting, engaging and, yes, thought-provoking hour’s theatre, you need look no further.
Colm Maher’s lighting and sound are perfectly judged. Paul Meade directs. It continues daily at 1 pm, Monday – Saturday until June 8th