Horse Play – Glass Mask Theatre – Review

Horse Play – Glass Mask Theatre – Review
Until April 1st

Find out more about Glass Mask Theatre here.

This production tells the story of Ciarán (Sean Basil Crawford), Ireland’s most famous jockey. He’s known as Holy Boy for his habit of blessing himself as he crosses the winning line. He formed a partnership with his horse King and for many years, they went from strength to strength, winning major races. Their career together ended in mysterious circumstances as King went missing one night from the stables. We meet Ciarán many years after his retirement, as he is just about to visit his father in a retirement home. His father was always a difficult man, and despite suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, he still has power over Ciarán. The confrontation between the two men sends Ciarán into an emotional frenzy, which causes a heart attack. This near-death experience causes a most unusual happening as he encounters a character from his past, his horse King!

This play is staged by Glass Mask Theatre at the Bestseller Cafe on Dawson street. It was my first trip to the cafe/ theatre and it is worthy of some praise. While it does lack a proper stage and the sight lines are not always perfect, this is an interesting addition to the venues around Dublin. Before the play begins, there is a full bar service, with wine and beer along with teas and coffee. There is also a selection of cheese and Antipasto options.  While not wanting to dip into food review territory, it makes for a very civilised night at the theatre.

This is a new play written by Eva O’Connor, who is known for My Name is Saorise and Mustard, among others. She’s a young playwright who is making a name for herself with a collection of diverse and hard-hitting plays on interesting topics. Her play Overshadowed dealt with anorexia and this play does cover some similar ground, as the main character Ciarán suffers from an eating disorder. However, it is only one element in a wide-ranging story. Eva usually acts in the plays she has written so this piece for two male actors is a new departure solely as a playwright.

The play covers a lot of ground and is quite outlandish and far-fetched in nature. This is not necessarily a bad thing and this good-natured and convivial piece offers many laughs and insights into the minds of its characters. Sean Basil Crawford plays Ciarán as an honest young man, who has struggled with many demons in his life. Jarlath Tivnan plays two roles in this play, in the early stages he is the voice of Ciarán’s father, but later in the piece, he plays Ciarán’s horse King in human form. He looks more like a game show host than a horse, complete with a sparkling jacket and a cheesy grin. Jarlath Tivnan has worked with Fregoli and Decadent Theatre Company and he excels in this manic role as the champion racehorse. With Cheltenham making the headlines at the moment, it is certainly a topical moment for this new production. If horse racing really is not your thing, maybe a trip to this fantasy world may whet your appetite.

Creative Team:
Writer: Eva O’Connor
Director: Dominic O’Brien
Cast: Sean Basil Crawford & Jarlath Tivnan
Costumes & Set: Kathyann Murphy
Lights: RC Bates
Producers: Migle Ryan & Rex Ryan

Categories: Header, Theatre, Theatre Review

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