Review: Port Authority, Southwark Playhouse

One of the joys of watching a play without any prior knowledge is that you don’t know what you’re going to get. I went to see this last night, not knowing what to expect other than the enticing synopsis on Southwark Playhouse’s website. I am not sure I would call this a play as such as it is basically about three men, one young, one middle aged and one old, narrating their chosen incidents which are peppered with jokes and bewilderment but also tinged with sadness. All three narratives focus on women and, crucially, of loves gained and loves lost and loves that had to be let go.

The small links between the three tales suggest that despite the three characters appearing on stage at the same time, their narratives are of different timeframes. The narratives are interwoven, helping to build suspend as we move from one tale to another but we don’t lose sight of each tale. The three story-tellers are excellent. Andrew Nolan is the young man, Kevin, who has moved to Dublin and is living with friends, including a girl whom he loves but it’s not a love that is able to grow as their lives are not in total synch with each other. Ardal O’Hanlon (he of the Father Ted fame) is middle-aged Dermot who masks his insecurity and unhappiness with copious consumptions of alcohol. John Rogan is old man Joe who lives in a home and whose memories come flooding back when he receives a parcel in the post one day. All three story tellers use their voices effectively to convey their dilemmas and frame of mind.

Although the three narratives are gripping in their own right, this is not a play for you if you want to see action and interaction on stage. I found myself tuning out from time to time but the lyrical quality and the strong delivery of these stories prevented boredom from setting in. Personally, I think this would have worked better as a radio play.

★★★☆☆
Until 18 February 2012.
Written by Conor McPherson.
Directed by Tom Attenborough.
Performance time: 90 minutes with no interval .
www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk

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About manipillai

Oh, just a few of my thoughts on theatre.
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