performance from the Chesil Theatre this week.
Cecily O'Neill's production is very appropriate, coming as it does in
the centenary year of the Easter Rising in Dublin. Written just two
years after the Rising, it reminds us of the terrible costs of war,
whether civil or world-wide.
There is one excellent scene where an IRA man comes to arrest a family
member. We do not see his face, he is dressed in the raincoat and hat of
the time but this man never ceases to be threatening, though only on the
stage for seconds.
The play brilliantly sets up the atmosphere of a Dublin tenemment, the
talk, the workshys, the difficulties women have to make ends meet.
Friends Joxer and 'Captain' Jack Boyle fall out and fall in, Juno,
Jack's wife, is constantly occupied with coping with her loquacious
The play is very funny and indeed there is a Dublin sing-song where
family members are cajoled to get up and do the party priece - including
a brilliant rendering from Mrs Madigan (Heather Bradford) in particular.
But through the banter and the laughter, all highly enjoyable, the
dreaded cost of enmity gradually seeps through and in the end the Boyle
family suffers greatly.
A very satisfying play - with memorable performances, an impressive set
The Chesil actors rise to the occasion with these not-to-be-missed
performances - Michael Goron and Steve Clark as the constantly warring
friends, Jack and Joxer; Rachel O'Neill as Juno, the Dublin matriarch
who cannot escape the tragedy, Judith Frank as the tragic Mrs Tancred,
on her way to her son's funeral, plus a wonderfully reptilian
performance by Andrew Jenks, intent on gaining the hand of Mary, the
Boyle's daughter(Tania Casey) who can only see a bright future.
The play runs to 19 March.