Bush Theatre Spring 2011
Deirdre Kinahan's play, here in a production visiting from Ireland's Tall Tales Theatre, is a sympathetic but clear-eyed look at the ways families and whole lives can be built on Things We Do Not Talk About, and how bringing such things into the open may not be the instant solution textbooks might suggest.
The specifics of her story, as interesting and moving as they are, are less significant than the broader underlying patterns, which almost everyone can finds ome personal connection to.
We're introduced to an imperfect but seemingly functional Irish family. Mother is kept afloat on a diet of tranquilisers and antidepressants that leave her a bit vague but happy, especially since her grown daughters keep a close eye on her.
The married daughter is noticeably more tied to her mother than her own family while the single daughter is more tense and resentful than her mother's demands on her might seem to justify. And there is a son, living away, whose very mention generates extra stresses and uneasy vibrations.
We'll learn eventually that the son committed a horrible crime as a child and that each of the other family members has tried to escape that memory, in differing ways that all take a great deal of psychic energy to sustain.
And now a rare visit is going to shatter the denial systems and lead to things being said out loud that can not then be unsaid.
And in violation of all the rules of pop psychology and easy fiction, the result will not be cathartic, but traumatic, leaving everyone wondering whether the unhappiness they knew before was better than the new, unfamiliar unhappiness they face now.
It's a strong play, occasionally overly melodramatic and just as frequently darkly comic, but likely to touch some personal chord in every member of the audience.
Director David Horan skilfully and sensitively guides a
uniformly excellent cast led by Maeve Fitzgerald as the single
daughter and Deirdre Donnelly as the mother.
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Review - Moment - Bush Theatre 2011