Lie Low – Dublin Fringe Festival – Review
by Frank L
LIE LOW – by Ciara Elizabeth Smyth
Performances: 11 – 14 & 16 September – 21:15, €15/€13
Other Performance: 17 September – 13:15, €15/€13
Venue: Project Arts Centre – Cube
Dublin Fringe’s website describes Lie Low as a “darkly, funny new play” which it undoubtedly is. The first attribute to strike the viewer is the quality of the set which creates a space that feels cluttered while in actuality is quite sparse. There is a fine square carpet with a geometric pattern which is placed at an angle on the stage. In the most distant corner of the carpet is a tall table on which sits a music player and slightly in front of it is a standard lamp with a white lampshade. These look as if they were once contemporary but are now a little dated. They are huddled together so they seem to have little space. Of an entirely different genre is a large wooden veneered wardrobe which looks like a survivor from the thirties. It stands erect and alone and suggests a bedroom occupied by respectable souls. These items create an intriguing space. The set was designed by one Ciaran Bagnall.
Faye (Charlotte McCurry) is in a crisis as she is unable to sleep. She has been to a litany of doctors who have recommended a variety of solutions but the problem persists. She has a fear of what is contained in the wardrobe and a figure emerges with the head of a duck which haunts her brain. It transpires that she had an encounter in her home with an intruder but she can remember little about his appearance except for one surprising detail. Her brother Naoise (Michael Patrick) feels guilty about the incident with the intruder and wants belatedly to help her. As he does so their sexual histories might become intertwined as they seek to find a solution to Faye’s sleeplessness.
McCurry energetically explains Faye’s trauma and she is blessed with a script which even if dark is never far from comic. McCurry is an actor with a variety of skills, not least an ability to dance, which she utilises as she conveys the torments that the frenetic Faye is handling. Naoise is a more solid citizen and is comparatively reserved but under the pressure of Faye’s goading he enters territory in which he is not comfortable. Patrick with considerable skill conveys Naoise’s timidity. The contrast in their characters makes for a relationship which is unexpected but gripping.
Regular Fringe goers may be familiar with Ciara Elizabeth Smyth. She is responsible for the script of Sauce, which was at the festival in 2019, before returning to Bewleys earlier this year. She was also the writer of We Can’t Have Monkeys in the House which ran in the New Theatre in 2018. She has a quite particular style of absurdist theatre that is unique.
This is a finely worked piece of theatre which lasts for seventy minutes of gripping entertainment. It is to be hoped that it will have further iterations after the festival and if so do take the opportunity to encounter this surprising piece of theatre.
Playwright: Ciara Elizabeth Smyth
Director: Oisín Kearney
Co-Producer: Kelly Phelan
Set + Lighting Designer: Ciaran Bagnall
Costume Designer: Molly O’Cathain
Sound Designer: Denis Clohessy
Movement Director: Paula O’Reilly
Fight Choreographer: Philip Rafferty
Stage Manager: Ciara Nolan
Cast: Charlotte McCurry + Michael Patrick
Image: Ciara Elizabeth Smyth
Design: Evan Flynn