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Theatre Upstairs: Monster?

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A new collaboration between Theatre Upstairs and EGM Productions has brought a real gem to its audience. Emily Gillmor Murphy’s new play Monster? is an original poignant story that won’t leave anyone feeling indifferent.

Let’s have one more conversation about women’s reproductive rights. Let’s look at the situation from a different point this time: what if she just doesn’t want to be a mother? Does it make a monster out of her? After all, all that a woman wants is to have a choice and not to be judged or frowned upon for how she feels.

Nell (played by Aisling O’Mara) – a mother-to- be – a woman – an individual and a human being just like anyone else – keeps repeating to her unhappened partner Adam (played by Jamie O’Neill) that the body is hers. Not his or the baby’s, but hers. After a drunk one night stand, she quickly discovers her unexpected new condition. Adam, though a nice guy but definitely not yet ready for becoming a father, after a brief freak out offers Nell to move in with him and, maybe, start a family. Isn’t it, after all, what every girl dreams of? Almost an orphan herself, Nell already knows she doesn’t want this baby. Not because she is an evil creature or a witch from a kid’s fairy tale but simple because she doesn’t feel ready to bring a new life into this world. My body – my choice? Or shall Nell just follow the rules of the society and silently consent to what God has created every woman for?

This roughly an hour long play doesn’t only take an unconventional approach to an important (mostly unspoken of) social topic but it also has an absolutely perfect sharp ending for a piece of this kind. With a small cast of three, Monster? is a surprisingly funny play. Michael Glenn Murphy (who plays Ru) provides the ultimate comic relief, while the other two actors wonderfully balance the tragedy and the heaviness of the story. All under the directing hand of the master himself – Karl Shiels.

Lisa Krugel’s simple but quite stunning stage design – a bar – is the first thing that welcomes you into Theatre Upstairs’ cosy auditorium. It provides the perfect setting for the story and the unforgettable beginning.

Monster? is a play that gives you more than mere entertaining and a nice night out. It gives you some real food for thought. It’s a brave, challenging production created by a bunch of undoubtedly talented and creatively inspiring artists.

Monster? by Emily Gillmor-Murphy runs in Theatre Upstairs till April 29th. So, there is no excuse not to go! For more info or to book tickets: http://www.theatreupstairs.ie/monster

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Filed under EGM Productions, Monster?, Theatre Upstairs, Uncategorized

Theatre Upstairs: A Boy Called Nedd

Yesterday was the opening night of a brand new play A Boy Called Nedd by Emily Gillmor Murphy.

A boy called Nedd tells a story of five teenagers, who go to the same school. All five of them are very different, but quite stereotypical Irish:

Nedd (played by Conall Keating) is a sweet guy who is going through a lot of shit. His older brother Ben has just committed a suicide; his dad, unable to cope with the situation, has just left; his ma can’t hold a job. Nedd really likes Alice and it even looks like she likes him back.

Alice (played by Amilia Stewart) is a girl who’s sleeping around with everyone. She does it out of insecurity and complete lack of confidence. She is desperate for any proof that she’s likable and pretty, that a guy would just like her just for who she is. And when such a guy does turn up, she’s too confused and scared to let him inside her heart.

Anto (played by Liam Heslin) is Nedd’s best friend. He is the cool guy, or the one who desperately wants to make such an impression. He drinks, he smokes,… he is the kind of bad guy good girls would fall for.

Sophie (played by Aislinn O’Byrne) is the typical good girl, who gets A in every single subject. She looks up to Alice and is desperately in love with Anto who barely knows that she even exists.

Niamh (played by Jasmine Brady) is the bitchy one. She is smart, very confident and has an answer for everything. She doesn’t like when things don’t go the way she wants. She also likes Anto but, unlike Sophie, she is not afraid of doing something about it.

A Boy Called Nedd is a darkish comedy that simply sweeps you away with some really high class acting. Characterisation in this production is simply amazing. Every single actor plays his or her part so precisely and so uniquely that it takes your breath away.

Visually it’s also a very fair play. There are absolutely no props on stage except for a wall with pictures and drawers at the very back. This small but very effective detail constantly reminds us that the main action takes place in a school. Another nice directing choice has been made in the change of scenes: actors would change places and focuses marching like soldiers.

No doubt some of the best scenes took part in the classrooms, rather than outside of school, when the characters would communicate by whispering one to another. The reactions were just so perfect that anybody, who has ever gone to school, could easily associate with them.

This beautiful production is part of Occupy Theatre Upstairs program by Bitter Like a Lemon Theatre Company. It’ll run until June, 13th. For more info or to book tickets, visit: http://www.theatreupstairs.ie/a-boy-called-nedd

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Filed under A Boy Called Nedd, Bitter Like a Lemon, Performing arts, Theatre Upstairs