Tag Archives: Conor O’Kane

Good Gracious, Good Friday


White Bear Theatre

Good Gracious Good Friday

Good Gracious, Good Friday

White Bear Theatre

Reviewed – 16th October 2019



“Direction by Jessica Arden is energetic; never has idleness felt so manic”


If the cast are surprised by their ovation at the end of Philip Catherwood’s nostalgic slice of 1998 life in Belfast, it may be due to timing. Seeing the era’s sectarianism through the eyes of feckless young adults is powerful and funny, but as co-lead Conor O’Kane acknowledges post-ovation, the fact that border checks have again been advanced by a British government gives their show a tragicomic boost.

On the day the referendum result is announced on the Good Friday Agreement, Northern Irish house mates Ciaran (Conor O’Kane) and Eva (Katrina McKeever) loaf around, hungover and amicably tetchy. As a generation less riven by hatred than that of their parents, their obliviousness to the vote and to their own religious difference seems perfectly natural. When they chance upon the news while searching for Supermarket Sweep, it leads only to hilarity. They laugh about the innocent code words used for Protestant and Catholic by the young, an innocence illustrated by Protestant Eva having to explain to Catholic Ciaran that Sinn Fein is not the name of the bearded bloke he’s seen on the telly.

The arrival of Eva’s friend Megan stirs up light-hearted love rivalry, which gets more complicated – and more serious – with the appearance of Ciaran’s boisterous buddy Donal. Underlying issues emerge during some feisty and furious drinking games as does a whiff of the danger of their religious divisions, but once the so-called friends depart, there’s a hesitantly happy ending between the housemates that, if symbolic, is both deftly written and played.

Direction by Jessica Arden is energetic; never has idleness felt so manic. But the chaos is well framed by the set, which captures the period and the life-stage without feeling messy. Pools of vomit are thankfully left to our imagination and the TV is represented only through audio (Sound Design, Elizabeth Parker). Performances are occasionally nervy, but Katrina Mckeever is magnificent as Eva, engrossingly slobbish, vulnerable when emotional, every move immaculately timed and always effortlessly comic. Conor O’Kane is rock solid alongside as is Sharon Duffy as Megan. Mario McEntee as Donal shows slightly less poise, but nevertheless he powerfully channels the anger and threat under the surface of the society they are forced to confront, and without which the production would be less impactful.

Even without the context, this is a punchy cocktail of fun ingredients and creative talents with obvious potential. Like Eva’s Bacardi Breezers, they won’t be kept down for long.


Reviewed by Dominic Gettins

Photography by Grace Kennedy


Good Gracious, Good Friday

White Bear Theatre until 18th October


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Lovebites | ★★★ | April 2018
The Old Room | ★★ | April 2018
The Unnatural Tragedy | ★★★★★ | July 2018
Eros | ★★ | August 2018
Schrodinger’s Dog | ★★★★ | November 2018
Franz Kafka – Apparatus | ★★★ | January 2019
The Project | ★★★ | March 2019
Swimming | ★★★★ | April 2019
Garry | ★★★ | June 2019
Reformation | ★★★ | June 2019


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Tomorrow Creeps – 4 Stars


Tomorrow Creeps

The Vaults

Reviewed – 25th January 2018


“an intense kaleidoscope that is so vivid that it takes on a breathing, seething life of its own”


We take our seats in the dingy Cavern room in the Vaults at Waterloo. Drops of murky water drip from the ceiling, and the audience lines the stage on two sides. A thick, dimly-lit haze hangs over the stage, where the figure of a man can just be made out. David Fairs’ Tomorrow Creeps is weird before it has even begun. As a story of ghosts and madness inspired by the storytelling of Kate Bush and drawn from sixteen works from Shakespeare, weirdness is clearly high on the agenda for theatre company Golem!

The text of the play is a mixture of original writing and borrowed lines of Shakespeare, decontextualised and applied to this new, strange situation. This is a surprisingly smooth fusion that feels darkly archaic rather than simply Shakespearian and adds yet another complex, murky layer to this unique production. Unfortunately, the Kate Bush additions may have been an experiment too far, as the sudden, and mercifully sparing, sequences set to ‘80s pop hits draw nervous laughter from an unconvinced audience.

Those sections are blemish on the face of what is otherwise a stunningly visceral production. From start to finish, Tomorrow Creeps is an intense kaleidoscope that is so vivid that it takes on a breathing, seething life of its own. From the subterranean setting, to meticulous use of props and lighting, to the fact that all three actors take their bow exhausted and filthy, it is impossible to imagine that something occult has not taken place for real. The ordeal, with all its rage and the mania, is genuine.

Tomorrow Creeps is so ambitious and devastatingly odd that, inevitably, some parts come a little unstuck. While the Cavern is a wonderfully atmospheric environment, its length and acoustics meant that some sections of dialogue could easily become lost; in an unfamiliar play about madness with remixed text without obvious scene transitions, it is inevitable that some sections become difficult to follow. Nevertheless, this is an intoxicating and unique production that deserves its place at the forefront of contemporary fringe theatre.


Reviewed by Matthew Wild


Tomorrow Creeps

Vaults Theatre until 28th January



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