To Have to Shoot Irishmen
Reviewed – 4th October 2018
“The actors take Lizzie Nunnery’s colourful, vivid script and bring such heart to a very affecting piece”
1916 is a violent and fraught time in Irish and British history. A time of conflict, at home and overseas. To Have To Shoot Irishmen is a story focusing on the war at home. It follows four people of the time, all different allegiances, all holding different stances. The story contains a brilliantly woven dual narrative following the continuation of the present whilst also retelling the story of how we got there. We follow the stories of Frank (Gerard Kearns), Hanna (Elinor Lawless), William (Robbie O’Neill) and Vane (Russell Richardson) as we dissect the idea of brutality in volatile times.
The use of folk songs throughout really enhances this production. The level of musicianship on stage by all cast members is a joy to see, while the vocals are also clear and strong. The use of music (Vidar Norheim and Lizzie Nunnery) is a beautiful storytelling device that breaks up the scenes well and adds a new dynamic and authenticity to the show. The clever set (Rachael Rooney) and atmospheric lighting (Richard Owen) add realism and enhance the raw emotion of the piece.
The performances on stage are all thought out, versatile and grounded. The actors take Lizzie Nunnery’s colourful, vivid script and bring such heart to a very affecting piece. The stand out performance comes from Kearns as Frank. He brings a dynamic, layered, fully realised character to the stage. One that we laugh with, listen to and shed a tear for. His delivery is impeccable.
What really strikes a chord with me and my fellow audience members is the humanisation of these events. Despite this being a piece of history that is over one hundred years old, the themes and people are still relatable. The idea of responsibility to humanity and/or country. The question of what is ‘the truth’ and what is truthful.
Part of a mini-season of Irish work, To Have To Shoot Irishmen is a tight, heart wrenching and very real story. It is one that will open the eyes of many and fill those eyes with tears. There is sadness within the dialogue but also humour and light. For “We are the dream, we are our own dark reflection”.
Reviewed by Shaun Dicks
Photography by Mike Massaro
To Have to Shoot Irishmen
Omnibus Theatre until 20th October
Previously reviewed at this venue:
Badback Mountain | ★ | January 2018
Drag Me to Love | ★★★ | February 2018
The Soul of Wittgenstein | ★★★ | February 2018
Mortgage | ★★★★ | March 2018
My Dad the Magician | ★★★★ | March 2018
The North! The North! | ★★★ | March 2018
Gauhar Jaan – The Datia Incident | ★★★★ | April 2018
The Yellow Wallpaper | ★★★★ | June 2018
Blood Wedding | ★★★ | September 2018
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