Cúirt theatre reviews - Perve and Breathing Corpses

AS PART of the Cúirt festival, the Nuns Island Theatre is hosting a theatrical double bill featuring work from two rising stars of today’s generation of playwrights - Stacy Gregg and Laura Wade.

In Gregg’s Perve, which is being staged by NUI Galway BA Connect, young film-maker Gethin (Sam Serry ) is making a film on society’s behaviour toward paedophiles. He prompts his sister to start a schoolyard rumour about himself as a way of illustrating how accusations of sexual deviance can be fuelled as much by baseless hysteria as hard fact.

Unfortunately for Gethin his ruse works all too well and before long social services are on his case, the authorities have impounded his computer, and he is hauled in for an interrogation.

Gregg’s script touches on issues of sex offences, teen bullying, pornography, and rumour-mongering and she presents characters that are rounded and complex. Gethin is both cocksure and clueless, dogmatically insistent on the merits of his film, but ill-prepared for the consequences of what he has set in motion.

His sister Sarah (Hannah O’Reilly ) embodies all the uncertainties of teendom, a prickly connection with her brother, a crush on his best friend, and awkward relations with her classmates.

Under Andrew Flynn’s assured direction, the NUIG Galway BA Connect cast acquit themselves with great credit; Serry and O’Reilly as the siblings the story’s centre, Leona Dorrian as their single mother, Oisin Robbins as Gethin’s friend Nick, Aine Cahalan as Lorraine’s friend Tammy, Sarah Holohan as Nick’s ex-girlfriend Layla, and Eilish McCarthy as the ‘Authority’ figure who grills Gethin.

Andrew Flynn also directs Galway Youth Theatre’s staging of Laura Wade’s Breathing Corpses. It begins with chambermaid Amy (Shauna McEvilly ) finding the body of a suicide in the hotel bedroom she is about to clean. From there the play spools back in time to reveal what drove Jim – the suicide - to take his life, a journey which includes a vivid snapshot of the volatile marriage between Ben (Oisin Tierney ) and Kate (Eimear Joyce ) – a partnership that adds another corpse to the play’s tally.

Wade’s script combines black humour with acute pathos and the GYT cast carry off both these strands with equal assurance. Feilim Ó hAolain, as Jim, blends droll humour with fragile vulnerability while Kate Murray, as his wife Elaine, is both comical chatterbox and loving spouse painfully bewildered by her husband’s depression.

Emmet Byrne’s Ray and Patrick Nolan’s Charlie complete the principal cast while the production also features a chorus of 11 who provide a sung soundtrack to the action with live accompaniment from Sean Hogan.

Both plays continue until Sunday. Perve is at 5pm and Breathing Corpses at 8pm. Each play runs for about 80 minutes without an interval. Tickets are available on the door or in advance from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777 and www.tht.ie

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