Print Room at the Coronet
Reviewed – 18th December 2018
“a slow burner, with characters being introduced delicately and conversations packed with intricate descriptions”
‘Dead Poets Live’ is a highly original series of readings of famous poetry, read by actors and performers to a live audience. Previous performers include Jason Isaacs, Tom Hiddleston and Glenda Jackson, and performances are held at the wonderfully stylish and eerie Print Room at the Coronet. This week, James Joyce’s short story ‘The Dead’, the final story of his famous Dubliners series, is being presented.
There is something magical about having a story read to you in a room full of strangers. You are at once provided with the intimacy of a bedtime story with the communal experience of a theatre show. Patrick Kennedy does a wonderful job of leading us through this dense short story, in which a group of eclectic Dubliners all meet up for a big Christmas meal. An array of characters is presented to us by Kennedy in a charming and comforting performance. We experience drunken anecdotes around the dinner table, as well as more poignant discussions on Irish identity, and a haunting conversation between a man and wife (read superbly by Annabel Mullion) on past lovers, mortality, and the ending of days. This charming and harrowing tale is complimented superbly by the set: a bare room with tattered windows, a writing desk and a lone bed that appears to have come straight out of a Sean O’Casey production.
‘The Dead’ is one of Joyce’s longest short stories (it is considered by many to be closer to a novella in length), and it therefore requires attention and concentration from an audience to keep up with the story. The piece does not have as much immediacy as a shorter poem does, or indeed an action packed play. It is a slow burner, with characters being introduced delicately and conversations packed with intricate descriptions and inner thoughts from the author. If you are able to keep up, however, you are rewarded with a truly unique performance piece that brings a whole new element to a marvellous piece of literature.
Reviewed by Edward Martin
Print Room at the Coronet until 20th December
Previously reviewed at this venue: