Permit me, if you will, to gush:
This show is wonderful.
Go see it tonight, please. I have never been a part of an audience so uplifted by a Players show – so filled with joy and enthusiasm and teeming with thoughts we were all dying to share with each other afterwards. It was JUST SO GOOD. My only regret is not being able to see it sooner, and get this review online so that more people might be encouraged to see it. For that, I am sorry.
Not that I lend that much weight to my own opinion, but, you know, publicity and whatnot.
Also, I’m the new editor of this here publication so have some reverence, bitches…
Where to begin?
Yasmina Reza’s script is amazing, and I shall try to avoid voiding (one of my many mantras in life) my enthusiasm for it too much, as this is a review for this production rather than the script. But oh man is it good – well-chosen Matthew Malone!
So, with a flawless script as a foundation, Matthew was in a good position to put on a pretty all right show – all he needed was a talented troupe of actors and designers, and a vision that would augment the script in performance, and he’d be golden.
He was golden.
From the moment I walked in, Ursula McGinn’s set said everything it needed to say without being in-your-face. It was a scene straight out of an IKEA catalogue – complete with flawless, white Macbook – without being ‘a scene straight of an IKEA catalogue because that’s middle class gettit?’
The scene was set for our bourgeois couples to have it out.
Oh boy, the cast.
The script gave them the opportunities, and they hit every single moment that was offered to them without exception. The dry humour, the slapstick, the shrill self-righteousness – Katherine, Aaron, Eavan, Alex: well done.
Ciara Fleming’s costumes were unimposing and perfect, and allowed for my favourite moment of the show, where Aaron Devine’s Michael threw off the yoke of the sweater tied around his shoulders before pouring himself a drink of rum.
Get a hold of yourself Hugo, people will think you’re an easy critic!
The cast could have been a bit more present at times. For example, Aaron kept cleaning the same area of the stage when there was an area the other side of the table was actually still dirty, or when actors put on coats and their collars were caught and they didn’t fix them because that wasn’t in the script – little things like that. The live-ness of the event is what the audience is there to see, and there’s no need to pretend something isn’t happening when it is.
But these moments were rare, and I only brought them up because they were essentially the only thing I could fault about the play!
In and amongst the riotous laughter and wonderfully uncomfortable silences, Matthew’s vision of the piece made a powerful statement about the selfish, material culture that we live in without being didactic. It called into question the lines we have drawn in our civilised society, and the culture of ‘you’re not me, so I don’t care.’ But, all in all, what made the show so successful was its invitation to join in. It was a complete gift – a joyous occasion to which were all warmly and enthusiastically invited, rather than a means for actors to act and for the director to make his statement about society, man.