The heat is on in Meghan Tyler’s wild new play, set during the late 1980s Northern Irish Troubles. Here, Alannah gets by foraging on Tayto crisps and illicit fags inbetween tending to her ailing Da’ upstairs. When her free-spirited sister Fianna roars in the front door after a three-year absence, their booze-filled reunion unleashes all their pent-up frustrations at every
macho dinosaur that ever reared its ugly head.
Gareth Nicholls’ turbo-charged co-production between the Traverse and the Lyric Theatre, Belfast sets out its store on Grace Smart’s garish pink-hued living room room set, in which the sisters’ long dead mammy peers down at the spick and span interior that provides shelter from the chaos outside.
As Alannah, Lucianne McEvoy presents a magnificent comic study of high anxiety that almost makes Lisa Dwyer Hogg’s potty-mouthed Fianna appear well-balanced. As old traumas come to light, the sisters take no prisoners in a fearlessly audacious assault on a system about to be blown apart.
The Patient Gloria
If it wasn’t for the woman in a man’s suit knitting a woolly penis at the side of the stage, audiences could be forgiven for thinking they were watching a staging of Mad Men designed by Edward Hopper. A second woman sits on the couch adrift from her surroundings, as if she’s in some kind of solitary confinement.
The first woman is Gina Moxley, who’s written this show about how, in 1964, thirty-six-year old Gloria was filmed revealing her innermost desires to three very different therapists. Originally intended for educational purposes, the films were later broadcast more widely without Gloria’s consent. That’s Gloria on the sofa, made flesh by Liv O’Donoghue, while Moxley plays each of the doctors who effectively violate Gloria.
Singer/musician Jane Deasy colours in John McIlduff’s production for Dublin’s Abbey Theatre in association with the Pan Pan company with bass guitar versions of The Au Pairs’ post-punk gender wars classic, It’s Obvious, and In My Room by The Beach Boys. The result on Andrew Clancy’s set is a deliciously ribald non-stop erotic cabaret of third wave feminism which reclaims Gloria’s experience for today.
The Herald, August 15th 2019