August 1st to 25th
£6 to £19
There have been many production on both stage and screen about the troubles in Northern Ireland. All from various perspectives and all with various story’s to tell. This is a very intimate piece, only three performers, dealing with a very personal episode between two characters. As you might have guessed one is Catholic and the other Protestant. However, one of the unusual elements about this play is that the terrorist is the Protestant. And he has a very harrowing tale to tell.
The story is set in modern post troubles time with the two protagonists attempting to reach some kind of reconciliation about an incident that occurred some 35 years hence in the very pub they are drinking in. A pub that is excellently recreated in the theatre, right down to the working beer taps. The Polish barman makes up the third character, and though he doesn’t get a hugely significant role, is well fleshed out by the suspicions raised about his own enigmatic and potentially dark past. This gives the two leads the leeway they need to wax lyrical with their own troubling narratives.
And troubling they are. There is no doubt these guys are excellent performers but the long dark monologues they take us on are so heart felt, so worthy and so harrowing it kind of left me screaming out for a little light relief. I wasn’t asking for a clown to come on and start doing somersaults or a dog in a superman costume just something that could interject there sincere tirades with a little colour. After all, I have heard humour is something the Irish use frequently as a form of therapy. But then maybe I’m being too flippant about what is a very serious issue. But we’ve seen this issue dealt with so frequently and equally sincerely it’s maybe time for a fresh perspective. I don’t know what that is and I feel like a philistine for even suggesting it but maybe that would be a more constructive method to heal the wounds.
Still, if you were a fan of In the Name of the Father and the ilk you will probably enjoy this tale of reconciliation. I don’t think it’s going to finally bring closure to the troubles but it is, despite it’s flaws, a worthy addition to the fold. THREE STARS
Review by Steven Vickers