Ask Too Much of Me – Peacock Stage (Abbey) – Review

Photo Ros Kavanagh

Ask Too Much of Me – Peacock Stage (Abbey) – Review
Youth Theatre Ireland presents the National Youth Theatre – Ask Too Much of Me by Dylan Coburn Gray
19 – 24 August 2019

This is a play based around a group of young people living in a squat house in Dublin. They are a collection of friends who have been forced into this position by the housing market and the impossibility of paying rent in Dublin. The group are suitably odd ball, and are from all corners of the sexual spectrum. We meet them over the course of a few months leading up to the vote on the abortion referendum, a moment they see as pivotal in their lives.

This is a play produced by the National Youth Theatre (not to be confused with Dublin Youth Theatre) who are the national development organisation for youth theatre. This play is written by Dylan Coburn Gray who wrote Citysong which was recently performed on the main stage of the Abbey. He is a founding member of Malaprop Theatre company and has written a number of plays including Everything Not Saved and Love + which were both produced by Malaprop and performed at the Project Arts Centre.

Despite living in a squat the group seem quite middle class, and there are none of the more difficult social problems on display. Although there is a mention of drugs at one point, there are no addicts in the house nor any other criminal element. As such, the production doesn’t offer gritty realism, but instead an insight into a liberal ghetto closer to a student union. The house allows the young people to live slightly off the grid and to slowly discover themselves.

As with any collection of young actors, there are some that might follow a career in acting, whereas for others it will be their only time on stage. At times it was difficult to hear the text as the fast paced dialogue was lost in amongst the general madness. You obviously can’t expect the usual standards of acting, but having said that there were some that showed great promise and verve. At times their age and innocence made the text seem more believable.

While the production does offer a sanitized version of life in a squat, it is still an enjoyable tale. The second half of the production focuses directly on the burgeoning sexual experiences of the group and creates some cringe worthy and very funny moments. It is something of a rough diamond, but certainly there was much to admire about this production.

Photo Ros Kavanagh

Sasha: Sammy Cahn
Ciara: Caitlin Hebron
Mal: Eimear Hussey
Sally: Sarah Kelly
Sim: Seán Kenneally
Dean: Daniel Madden
Paige: Pippa Molony
Rachel: Penny Morris
Amy: Abigail Mulcahy O’Connell
David: Darragh O’Donnell
Olivia: Olwyn O’Donoghue Patterson
Jacob: James O’Leary
Danielle: Allie Parsons O’Neill
Jack: Daniel Penrose
Matt: Michael Tient
Breffni: Blaithín Ward

Artistic Director: Veronica Coburn
Writer: Dylan Coburn Gray
Set and Costume Design: Molly O’Cathain
Composer and Sound Design: Sinéad Diskin
Assistant Director: Barry Morgan
Choreography: Sibéal Davitt and Olwyn Lyons
Lighting Design: Sarah Jane Shiels
Assistant Costume Design: Neasa Flannery
Voice Coach: Andrea Ainsworth
Production Manager: Marie Tierney
Stage Manager: Suzie Cummins
Set Construction: Jason Coogans
Scenic Finishing: Susan Crawford
Assistant Stage Manager: Eoin Daly
Assistant Stage Manager Intern: Vanessa Byrne
Produced by: Alan King and Eoghan Doyle
Press Photography: Mark Stedman
Production Photography: Ros Kavanagh
Poster Illustration: Hexibit
Publicist: Christine Monk
Head of Welfare: Louise Holian

Photo Ros Kavanagh


Categories: Header, Theatre, Theatre Review

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