Oh, Brother – Bewleys Cafe Theatre – Review

Oh, Brother – Bewleys Cafe Theatre – Review
by Brian Merriman

From February 13th at 1.00pm, with a SOIRÉE PERFORMANCE at 7pm on Thursday, February 23rd, 2023.
Duration 50 minutes

Oh, Brother, nominated during the Dublin Fringe, comes back to Bewley’s Theatre in a neat and tidy production, ideal for its lunchtime slot. There is good variety in the simple structure through language and plot, from the pen of Callum Maxwell. The rhyming narrative zips the background context along with a commentary on the trafficking of children ‘born out of wedlock’ by the Catholic Church. The dialogue brings us through a rapid-fire discussion of the stereotypes that thrived and were embedded during that time when children and their Mothers were concealed and separated in our warped 1980s interpretation of morality in a ‘pro-life’ Ireland.

The direction is physically static but intellectually engaging, in this storytelling two-hander. Two brothers, Michael (a fluorescent Maxwell) and one adopted, Matthew (a powerful presence in Lenaghan) bring us through all the feelings of abandonment, rejection and hope. The lingering concept of being left behind or not being chosen, jars a little, as Michael only arrives on the scene over a decade later. So how was one chosen over the other?

It may be somewhat unusual that the first initiated contact is via the siblings, but the evolution of their relationship drives the plot at a pace, with emotion and humour. There is strong playing by the two men while getting to know each other. Their mutual arrival dislodges the other’s life and they explore a new path without a roadmap.

There are stories of insecurity, good parenting and the ongoing impact of stereotyping of adoptees, and shame. The plot twists and turns with emotion, anger and understanding, until their long and winding road leads straight to a door.  It runs at Bewley’s Cafe Theatre until the 4th of March and it is a well crafted piece of theatre.

Booking Information – Opens February 15th (previews 13th & 14th) and plays until March 4th, 2023 There will be an ALL NEW SOIREE SHOW at 7pm on February 23rd, 2023. Mon-Sat at 1pm (doors open at 12.50pm) Tickets: Low-price Mon/Tues 10e, Wed/Thurs 12e, Fri/Sat 15e. SOIREE Tickets : 12e

Produced by: BEWLEY’S CAFÉ THEATRE with Ragged Ruin
Written by: Callum Maxwell
Directed by Lee Coffey
Set and Costume Design: Kathy-Ann Murphy
Lighting Design: Eoin Byrne
Starring Callum Maxwell as Michael and Ruairí Lenaghan as Matthew
Developed at Fringe LAB, Scene & Heard Festival and Dublin Fringe Festival.
Photography by Sadhbh McLoughlin

Categories: Header, Theatre, Theatre Review

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