Whispering Beasts puts on Irish plays exploring what they call the Irish voice. It would be wonderful to hear their thoughts on the country’s best known playwright writing much of his work in French but that is irrelevant to this review. That playwright is of course Samuel Beckett. Beasts are now putting on three of his lesser know short works at the Old Red Lion, a venue perfect for the intimate, disturbing feel of the plays.
The night starts with Act Without Words I. It is a one man show (although the other actors were present on stage) in which a very frustrated man tries to survive in an enviroment that is rigged against him. This play calibrates the night, giving the audience a chance to get accustomed to Beckett‘s humour and style before launching into Rough For Theatre II.
This piece consumed the bulk of the performance. Two men simply sit and talk. What it is about is at best unclear, although we slowly realise it has something to do with a shadowy figure in the corner. It is a difficult piece, the kind of nonchalant journey into the absurd we expect from a Beckett piece.
Throughout, Joe Eyre and Bryan Moriarty keep the audience engaged, playing their strange characters as if they are the only normal ones left. This play is demanding, but well worth the effort it demands of the viewer.
Last but not least is Catastrophe, probably the easiest of the plays on the audience. It is a wicked parody of the theatre, something of an underlying theme for the evening, and how terribly serious it all is. Kate Kennedy chews the scenery in the best possible way as a wicked designer/artist, her performance becoming bigger and crazier as the director slowly drives her mad. It is a hilarious piece, although a bit uncomfortably so since as the character is tortured by the director. Probably the best play of the lot, although that may have something to do with the audience settling into Beckett‘s unique style.
An hour of Beckett may be your idea of heaven or hell. If you enjoy the Irishman this is a wonderful evening, if not stay away. If however you have never seen his shows and wonder what the fuss it about, this may just be the perfect entry drug, each piece being somewhat digestible and his voice captured by a talented company. 4/5
Review written by Ingimar Sverrisson.
Three Short Plays is currently showing at the Old Red Lion until Saturday 25th April. For more information on the production, visit here…