OUR FEW AND EVIL DAYS

photo-028As another year escapes our grasp, and we head remorsesly towards Christmas pantomime season, there’s still time left to take in one or two more visits to the theatre. So I was more than pleased to accept an invitation from fellow writer and blogger Don Cameron to see OUR FEW AND EVIL DAYS, written and directed by Mark O’Rowe, at the Abbey Theatre.
Earlier that same day, I bumped into my niece Cyrena Hayes who was of the opinion that ‘if I was to pick one more play to see this year, then this was the one.’ Credible praise indeed from an accomplished actor in her own right.
The play is set in the home of Michael (Ciaran Hinds) and Margaret (Sinead Cusack), a married couple in their fifties. They have a daughter Adele, (Charlie Murphy) in her thirties.
The opening scene sees Margaret sleeping on the living room couch, suggesting some deeper issues within their relationship. The arrival of Adele’s new boyfriend Dennis (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), takes on a sinister twist as he unashamedly probes personal family skeletons. And when Adele fails to return, Dennis is invited to spend the night, culminating in more uncomfortable and shocking revelations.
Adele’s preoccupation with her friend Belinda’s endless relationship problems with boyfriend Garry (Ian Lloyd Anderson) causes friction between father and daughter. This is later highlighted by her father’s propensity for violence, when Garry turns up to confront Adele over Belinda’s recent death. This in turn raises many unanswered questions surrounding the disappearance of her 11 year old brother Jonathan.
As the play reaches its conclusion the emotional tension is tangible, as a lifetime of unresolved guilt, and trauma, comes to a head, threatening to consume all concerned.
If I have one small criticism it would be in the final segment, of the last scene, which followed a pivotal and emotionally charged scene between Michael and Margaret, and its inclusion was unnecessary and sadly weakened the piece.
That apart, this play was very well crafted, and directed, by Mark O’Rowe, and a seamless performance by the actors, did the piece proud.
For me, OUR FEW AND EVIL DAYS and WET HOUSE, by award winning Newcastle playwright Paddy Campbell, stand out as two of my favourite plays this year. So, if OUR FEW AND EVIL DAYS makes a return, or should WET HOUSE reach these shores, make a date with both. I know I will.
I’m off now to see QUEENS OF PIMLICO by Derek Masterson at the Civic Theatre in Tallaght, before rescuing the Christmas decorations from the attic.
Mark O’Rowe’s previous productions at the Abbey include TERMINUS (2007) and MADE IN CHINA (2001).

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