Looking At The Sun – Smock Alley – Review
by Fran Winston
Smock Alley, Temple Bar until September 3rd. 7.30pm nightly with matiness Saturday and Sunday at 2.30pm
The Civic, Tallaght from September 6-10. 8pm Nightly with Saturday matinee at 3pm
Set in a beach house in a coastal town in America, this sees a motley crew descend for the weekend. A couple are hoping to spice up their love life with a threesome. One couple are desperately disconnected as life and children got in the way and are hoping that this last weekend before their daughter heads to college will be good for their family. The token single male is pining for his ex. Meanwhile their neighbours the Michaels (there’s a gay Michael and a straight Michael) frequently pop by and gay Michael stirs feelings in one of the male housemates which will have repercussions for others.
All in all, it’s a smorgasbord of issues. But yet nothing really happens. Theatre usually tells us something about ourselves or humanity but this feels like a lot of words that don’t actually say anything. At times I felt like this would be a better screenplay than stage show.
The performances are also hit and miss – mainly because of the American accents which many of the cast keep dropping. There are some lovely moments and some very funny segments and the energy is great but it is inconsistent and is quite tedious at times. It also contains far too many stereotypes.
This is written by American playwright Emily Bohannon and perhaps would translate differently with an American audience. But others I spoke to post show felt the same as I did. On paper this has everything to make a perfect play, it has a decent cast, it has a wonderful set (you really feel like you could live in that beach house the attention to detail is so good) and it does raise some interesting points, but nothing ever really feels explored properly and the more issues that get thrown into the mix the more diluted it becomes.
This could do with being more focused and would benefit from a slightly shorter running time. It does have it’s merits but it just needs a bit of refining,
WRITTEN BY Emily Bohannon
DIRECTED BY Kathleen Warner Yeates
LIGHTING DESIGN BY Cathy O’Carroll
SET DESIGN by Kathyann Murphy
GRAPHIC DESIGN by Charlie Kranz
COSTUME DESIGN BY Tara McKeever
Seán Mc Manus
PRODUCTION TEAM: Jessie Doyle, Ashley Steed, Yvonne Ussher
Publicity photography by Martin Dunne