"The Pigeon in the Taj Mahal"
- presented at the Irish Repertory Theatre toward the end of 2016 - was a juicy, convincing fantasy romance, appealingly taken
up by the likes of love-searching sad sacks in a certain dingy, lonesome Irish roadside trailer - belonging to "Pigeon"
himself (the truly excellent character actor John Keating). The production's fine acting is amply filled in
by Keating and his two terrific co-actors Laoisa Sexton (this play's playwright) and Zoe Watkins. Aptly and smoothly directed
by Alan Cox, "The Pigeon in the Taj Mahal" takes flight amid Pigeon's own yearnings and charming channeling
of Elvis Presley. This 80 minute excursion brings up the unfulfilled hopes done with very human chatter, but an honest, energized
chatter at that. This play is a wonder of sharp, earthy Irish interaction of personal need and escapism, - while simultaneously
seeking to make human connection, and always decked out in conversational pursuit. My own take is that Pigeon's isolated trailer on the outskirts
of town is an effective device to capture this probing of unrealized hopes of three human beings here (courtesy of the eventual arrival of another
unmarried woman, played by Zoe Watkins) - in a closed-up kind of way. It is this same excursion of hot and cold
wit - that is perhaps a survival tool for the lonely world of adults.
We could all learn this reminder for ourselves - and be better for it. This pigeon soars.
-Review by KEVIN MARTIN
- The Irish Repertory Theatre recently - in February and March - gave us a renewed presentation in
the form of a starkly
honest portrayal of morality's most concerning, most taboo of all taboos. (Can't tell
'ya here). Written with a fearless hand
by Honor Molloy and very nicely staged by
its director, Kira Simring, "Crackskull Road" captivates our own scarred
humanity - as collectively represented by the characters herein, namely Masher Moorigan the mother (Terry
Young Rash/ESB Boy (John Charles McLaughlin),
Rasher/Basher (Colin Lane), and Dolly/Wee Dolly (Gina Costigan).
A main idea from this (app. 75 minutes) story is the unkempt, jarred memory of past ill-deeds among
family. It is a dark
past full of unwanted, sad fury and in its
carefully tapered way, transmits its nightmarish tale to us audience members.
Watching it all unfold, I got the sudden impression that we were all eavesdropping in some unexpected manner. The
crumbling, haunting, decrepit appearance of
this shack-like house, with its entry to the front of the premises, is set
literally at the end of the last millennium's May Eve (1999). The secret of the awful doings that
once transpired here
becomes the riding explanation as to why these
hapless human beings are doomed. They (mother Masher and son Rash -
as well as "young" Rash -, and even daughter Dolly, who in a Masher-induced hallucination,
dramatically enters the
house from a rotted chimney) - are
all knotted together
by rage and shame (mother and son the more so). Living
peacefully and happily for even a minute shall
always remain far, far out of reach. But the acting reaches out to the
audience in an intriguing way. Terry Donnelly is top-notch, as she navigates her character's strange
blend of horror for all
of us to witness. Donnelly uses each
second of her stage time with smart perfection. It is difficult to take our eyes off
her. The rest of the cast, including Colin Lane who shines as Rash, easily acquits
itself with impressive skill.
THE ARAN ISLANDS - by J. M. Synge
Review by KEVIN
In what can only be described as a magical mystery tour
of fine acting by the gifted Brendan Conroy in this joyful, and
at times bittersweet one-man
play, "The Aran Islands" comes
you with forceful (but never forced) gusts of emotion, by
of the writings of John Millington Synge. With both a
focused adaptation and stage direction by Joe O'Byrne,
audience is amply rewarded. It is probably never always
to take an author's writings ("The Aran Islands" are
on Synge's observations of Aran Island culture at the
of the last century) and then convert it to a stage
however, it all works seamlessly here.
is perhaps thanks in large part to those Irish that deeply
and cherish things Irish, as done at the Irish Rep
actor and director both. Here, for about 100+ minutes -
a brief interval - Brendan Conroy encapsulates the
stories of Aran life and ways by skillful embodiment - as
aptly fulfills the very clear detail as per the program notes, wherein
Conroy succinctly,affectionately shows the Aran people and "their customs,
their habits, their labors,
as well as their battles with the elements,
trials and tragedies, their response to death, and ....
of the funerals with their keening are an incredible
of an ancient rite". This is such a memorable theatrical presentation,
moving, uplifting and ever faithful to Synge's gifts of literary richness that
it is virtually impossible
to find anything wrong with the production. It would
downright rude to not mention the brilliant set design of well felt village
waterside life and turf, encased with great fishermen nets and tools, et al.
Great thanks for this goes to Margaret Nolan. Additionally, excellent
belongs to director
O'Byrne, while the very effective costume design and
music sit wonderfully well with Marie Tierney and Kieran Duddy,
The last performance of "The Aran Islands" is July 23.
know what to do.