Theatre Review - 'Moment'Posted by Alexander Hay
Past traumas haunt the present in Deirdre Kinahan's explosive play
On a seemingly ordinary evening, an Irish family sit down to tea. Single daughter Niahm Lynch and her married sister Ciara Blake exchange pleasantries and engage in witty banter, in between some quarrelling, whilst their mother, Teresa, who is addicted to pills and alcohol, manages to keep everything running smoothly.
But it's different tonight – son Nial is home. Back from a five year stretch in prison for the murder of a teenage friend of the family, followed by six years in London, he has some news to share and a conscience to clear. He arrives in a happy mood with his attractive new-found wife Ruth. But a slip of the tongue by her causes a fateful moment to resurface which will change their lives forever.
Fast, amusing and frighteningly real, this is a story of a trauma wrapped up in tablecloths and teacake. There is an abrupt transition from domestic realism to searing self-exposure in the second act as the family is forced to confront a past crime – accusations and recriminations fly back and forth, the matriarch is taken ill and a marriage put in jeopardy, demonstrating how one terrible moment can change lives irrevocably.
Director David Horan draws naturalistic performances from his fine cast (the play is being performed by the Tall Tales Theatre Company and Solstice Arts Centre in association with the Bush Theatre), of whom Deirdre Donelly as the mother and Ronan Leahy as the returning son Nial make a particularly strong impression. Maeve Fitzgerald and Kate Nic Chonaonaigh as the sisters Niahm and Ciara respectively and Rebecca O'Mara as Nial's young wife Ruth are also commendable.
This then is a compassionate, troubling study of sin and redemption that lingers in the memory and marks Dierdre Kinahan as a playwright to watch.
Plays until March 26
Box Office: 0208 743 5050
Press: 0207 404 3000
By Laurence Green
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