Reviewed – 12th October 2018
“This is a play that is made by the tension built by the actors on stage – unfortunately, this tension feels very manufactured and almost hollow”
Patriotism, religion and masculinity. These are up for dissection in Owen McCafferty’s ‘Quietly’. A pub in Northern Ireland – one like any other – is the scene of two gentlemen meeting. Their lives are separate, apart from one harrowing event in history. One that neither of them can change, but can they resolve and forgive?
The script is cutting and very raw. Raw in the sense that it presents very violent and disturbing images in a forward way, so that we as an audience cannot avoid the dark part of history he is trying to explore. Lighting (Amy Daniels) is understated but elegant, shifting purposefully with moments of the play throughout. The sound design (Rachael Murray) with the incorporation of sounds from technology and the brilliant use of voice-overs as a way of telling various parts of the story, is inspired.
Overall Matt Dunphy (Robert), Paul Lloyd (Jimmy) and Nick Danan (Ian) do a decent job in presenting the text to us in a lively sort of way. This is a play that is made by the tension built by the actors on stage – unfortunately, this tension feels very manufactured and almost hollow.
What hinders the play is the rushed pacing and the lack of silences. The actors seem almost too eager to get their lines in, which caused some running over each other and some stumbles. Ultimately, this ruined the lasting effect this show could’ve had. It would be better to let this show breathe a bit, let the tension build with a few more awkward silences (there is room for plenty) and for the actors trust what has been given to them.
Direction (James O’Donnell) is lacking. Two out of three lead performances felt very simple and one-dimensional. The one that does shine is that of Dunphy who is gifted with some wonderful humour through his track. He delivers in the moments he is utilised and it’s a shame that he isn’t used more.
I’m not saying that ‘Quietly’ is a bad show, but it’s not a good show either. It is distinctly average but has the potential to be great. With a few tweaks here and there, this could be a strong piece that really packs a punch. I hope that one day it does reach its potential because the material deserves it, the story deserves it.
Reviewed by Shaun Dicks
Photography by Stephanie Claire
Omnibus Theatre until 27th October as part of the Irish Season
Also reviewed from the Irish Season: