February blues hasn’t passed you by? And what could be better than treating yourself to a good play! Project Arts Center happened to have one: This Lime Tree Bower by Conor McPherson has entered its final week.
This tragicomedy by one of Ireland’s finest playwrights tells us the story of two brothers Joe (played by David Fennelly) and Frank (played by Stephen Jones). Joe, the younger brother, is an awkward school boy who doesn’t have many friends. As a matter of fact, I don’t think he has any friends at all. But everything changes when a new boy, Dylan, is being transferred to his school. One thing after another and Joe and Dylan become some sort of best pals. Or at least, that’s what Joe believes into. On a night out in a club Dylan picks up a girl. On their way home Joe, Dylan and the girl take a detour through the local cemetery. Soon Joe becomes the witness of one of the most gruesome scenes in his life. But being the good friend he is, he decides not to tell the Gardaí about what Dylan has done.
In the meantime, Joe’s elder brother Frank comes up with an idea of robbing the local bookies. Not out of real necessity but purely because he didn’t like the people working there and wanted to bring them down a peg or two. By pure chance and an absolute coincidence, he manages to get away with it: he robs the place, humiliates the bookmakers and flees the scene without being recognized.
There is another character in this story: Ray (played by Peter Daly). Ray is an occasional boyfriend to Joe and Frank’s sister. Therefore the three lads are on quite good terms and get along with each other. Ray becomes involved in the whole story because it was him who unwittingly helped Franks getaway from the crime scene. Nevertheless, Ray has a story of his own, being a middle-aged university teacher about whom can be easily (and rightly so) said: there is no fool to the old fool. One girl today, another tomorrow… Who cares? Ray definitely does not.
Wonderfully directed by Eoghan Carrick, this light comedy about dark matters, set in a small Irish seaside town is a great example of how life sometimes works in the most strange and unexpected ways. Peppered with a generous spoon of laughter, even the most dark moments of the play are being presented in an easily enjoyable and humorous way.
Thanks to the brilliant cast, all three characters are interesting and appealing to watch in their own ways: be it the truthfulness and simplicity of Frank, the innocence of Joe or the cockiness of Ray.
The intimate and cozy atmosphere of Project Arts’ Cube allows the audience (which is seated on three sides around the stage) to enter the true spirit of things. Alyson Cummins’ simple but fine design of the set adds to the above mentioned feeling of the space and time. I was particularly fond of the fake window, outside of which the night was changed by daylight and the birds were high and flying. It breaks out the static picture and creates a beautiful illusion of the world outside.
This Lime Tree Bower runs until February 27th (with an additional performance on the last day). For more info or to book tickets: http://projectartscentre.ie/event/lime-tree-bower/