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  • Entertainment

THEATRE: New plays entertain audiences

Wednesday, 13th March, 2019 7:00pm
THEATRE: New plays entertain audiences

A scene from ‘The Children’ which is running at The Gate. PHOTO: ROS KAVANAGH

THEATRE: New plays entertain audiences

A scene from ‘The Children’ which is running at The Gate. PHOTO: ROS KAVANAGH

TWO new plays at Dublin’s two best known theatres offer two very different experiences.

Different in the sense that one is based on a controversial 1960s Irish novel, and the other is a contemporary piece by British playwright Lucy Kirkwood. 

Different in the sense that one is set in an Ireland long forgotten, and the other in a modern day wasteland. Different in the sense that one nostalgically reflects on the past, while the other most definitely looks towards an uncertain future.

‘The Country Girls’ at the Abbey, is based on Edna O’Brien’s infamous book of the same name that was banned and burned on publication, ironically by those other great masters of fiction, the Catholic church. Today of course the story of two young country women discovering their sexuality and finding their feet in Dublin’s big smoke is in no way shocking or morally corrupting, and therein lies a problem. 

In much the same way as last year’s staging of John Osborne’s ‘Look back in Anger’ made one question just why the lead character was so indignant, here again you can’t help wondering what all the fuss is about. The story today serves as a nostalgic reflection on more innocent times with the staging perhaps the production’s strongest asset, furniture and props dramatically suspended in mid air. 

Over at the Gate, ‘The Children’ tells the story of two retired nuclear scientists who hold up in a country cottage after a catastrophic event leaves their home inhabitable. 

When an old friend arrives out of the blue, we’re left wondering if there is something more at play other than a simmering love triangle. 

The strong three-person cast of Sean McGinley, Ger Ryan and Marie Mullen deliver solid performances and have fun with the sometimes comical and offbeat script, digging their acting chops into more serious environmental themes as the story progresses. 

It would be easy to suggest that ‘The Country Girls’ would appeal to an older, rural audience, and yet, perhaps it would. The past or the future, the choice is yours. 

‘The Children’ runs until March 23 and ‘The Country Girls’ until April 6.

Paul O’Rourke

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