Colic – Dublin Theatre Festival – Review

Colic – Dublin Theatre Festival – Review
by Gearoid O’Byrne

Hatch Theatre Company & Pavilion Theatre, Ireland
Colic – by Eoghan Quinn

Venue: Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire
Preview(s) – 5 Oct
Date(s): 5 Oct. 8pm, 6,7,9 Oct. 8pm, 8 Oct. 2.30pm & 8pm

When the play opens, we meet Aisling (Kate Stanley Brennan) and Matt (Ekow Quartey), two exhausted young parents with a colicky baby daughter. The set is a suburban open plan kitchen/dining/living room, with a patio door to the rear and a hallway leading to the child’s bedroom. Matt is trying to cook dinner while repeatedly having to head to the bedroom to sooth his daughter whose cries are heard periodically from the baby monitor. It seems that Matt is bearing the brunt of minding the child while Aisling is out working hence her need to chill at the end of a busy day. The couple have a number of discussions around matters du jour such as the delivery of a new television (required by Aisling) and whether or not to book an expensive creche for their daughter as desired by Matt. As the play progresses we get glimpses of their previous life, the circumstances of their daughter’s conception and their anxieties about life and love.

The format of the play involves moments where the action freezes and individual characters go into internal monologues, oddly describing themselves in the third person during those phases. Clever use of lighting and sound accentuate those moments. A clever conceit but it is debatable how much they added to the production.

We meet two more characters, Aisling’s sister Jan played by Liz Fitzgibbon and their friend Tom played by Colin Campbell. Jan, though older, is still single and outwardly enjoying her nights on the town. Tom, however, appears to have recently been suffering some mental health problems.

The sisters are receiving repeated phone calls from a lonely, elderly granduncle Jim in London, though they don’t always take the calls, he repeatedly rings back.

The characters are well drawn and we learn much about them in the course of the play. Repeated crying by the baby and phone calls from granduncle Jim add to the sense of tension in the house and gradually erode the capacity of the characters to cope with the pressures of their daily life.

The set is very detailed and the cooking of dinner by Matt near the start is particularly well done, with the audience treated to the hiss of the frying pan and the smells of cooking on stage. The left wall of the set is absent and the audience can see what appears to be rubble and building detritus beyond, perhaps a metaphor for the character’s shakily constructed lives together.

This is an intimate glimpse into the characters’ circumstances as they struggle to cope with their lives. All the characters are likeable and one cannot feel anything but sympathy for them. Life, as they say, ain’t easy and everyone has their issues to bear. This was an impressive insight into the struggles of young people in today’s world.

Cast and Creative Team
Directed by Annabelle Comyn
Set Design: Alyson Cummins
Costume Design: Alyson Cummins
Music and Sound Design: Philip Stewart
Cast: Kate Stanley Brennan, Colin Campbell, Liz Fitzgibbon, Ekow Quartey


Categories: Header, Theatre, Theatre Review

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