Theatre review: Burn The Bad Lamp and Yellow Moon

CÚIRT 2010’s event-packed programme features two plays, Burn the Bad Lamp and Yellow Moon both of which run throughout the week.

Burn the Bad Lamp is adapted by Rod Goodall and Kevin Barry from a short story in Barry’s collection There Are Little Kingdoms. Performed by Goodall and Aine Ní Droighneain, the story centres on down-at-heel, ageing antique-dealer Ralph Coughlan who passes his day polishing his non-selling wares and admiring his comical pompadoured wig.

As he’s polishing a 1920s’ bicycle lamp, Ralph is startled by the sudden appearance of a genie who, fag-in-mouth and moustachioed, seems every bit as down-at-heel as himself. Nevertheless, he holds out the offer of the regulation three wishes and Ralph’s dog-eared days are indeed magically transformed in this whimsically surreal and engaging drama.

Speaking of dog-ears, a highlight is the unlikely friendship Ralph strikes up with a dead-yet-nevertheless-very-chatty dog. The piece features fine performances from Goodall and Ní Droighneain, with kudos also due to Ineka Abbas’ set design and Matthew Guinnane’s puppet-making.

GYT present Scottish author David Grieg’s absorbing drama, Yellow Moon. Marginalised teens Stag Lee (Féilim O’hAoilain ) and Silent Leila (Méabh Ní Chualain ) run away together to the Highlands after Stag fatally stabs his stepfather in a drunken fight.

On an isolated hunting estate they befriend Drunk Frank (Barry Hopkin ) and encounter visiting celeb Holly Malone (Orla O’Brien ). This is an atmospheric, poetic drama that addresses themes of loneliness, vulnerability, disaffection, fractured families, friendship, and love.

Andrew Flynn directs his cast of 14 with a sure hand, skilfully employing multiple narrators and drawing fine performances from his principal players. There is also affecting use of live music, featuring pop standards like ‘Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone’ and ‘The Way You Look Tonight’.

Burn the Bad Lamp continues at the Town Hall studio and Yellow Moon at Nun’s Island Theatre. Tickets are available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777.

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