Restoration – Project Arts Centre – Review
Shaun Dunne presents Restoration
Dates: 28 Jan – 01 Feb
Paul (Callan Cummins) is a young man who made a mistake. He had a violent outburst with Dean (John Cronin), a co-worker in his local Youth Service centre. The staff are still on edge after the event despite Paul not being allowed onto the premises for the last few weeks. Leanne (Kate Stanley Brennan) has decided to set up a meeting between the two men to sort things out and allow Paul to come back to work. This Restorative Practice aims to heal their broken relationship but there are other problems which may make this impossible.
This is a new play written by Shaun Dunne. He has previously worked on a variety of topics, such as HIV and Aids in Rapids and the life of a man with Down syndrome in Making a Mark. He has also written a number of more traditional plays such as Death of the Tradesmen (2012) and The Waste Ground Party (2014). The director of the piece is Darren Thornton who directed the 2016 film ‘A Date for Mad Mary’, but has also worked extensively on stage and is the artistic director of Calipo Theatre Company.
The play has a very strong cast and it relies heavily on the interactions between the various characters. There is no strong story arc and in many ways, the main event of the tale has already happened before the play begins. The fight between the two characters has already occurred and we are just seeing the consequences. Kate Stanley Brennan is at the centre of the piece and does well with the part of Leanne. Barry John O’Connor plays Tony, Paul’s older brother. He is a brooding presence over the play, and his history with Leanne further complicates the situation.
This is a subtle piece of theatre. You keep waiting for it to really explode into life but it is more of a slow burn as we wait for the inevitable highlight; the Restorative Practice and the face-off between the two men who have not met since the event took place. It is a piece that displays the talents of the various actors and allows the audience to see behind closed doors. Dunne met with various youth workers from the north inner-city while writing the play and there is an air of authenticity to the work that is hard to capture.
Written by Shaun Dunne
Directed by Darren Thornton
Produced by Killian Coyle
Set Design by Sabine D’Argent
Light Design by Sarah Jane Shiels
Sound Design by Jennifer O’Malley
Costume Design by Sarah Foley
Movement Direction by Emma O’Kane
Dramaturgy by Deirdre O’Halloran
Stage Management by Rachael Kivlehan
Production Management by Éanna Whelan
LEANNE — Kate Stanley Brennan
DEAN — John Cronin
TONY — Barry John O’Connor
NICOLE — Shauna Higgins
PAUL — Callan Cummins