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Edinburgh Fringe 2012

Dirty Hands

Sartre (adaptation)

Genre: Drama


Sweet Grassmarket


Low Down

An idealist struggles with his loyalties and ideals in a foreign land as two different political points of views fight for power and independence in Ireland  


Dirty Hands at Sweet Grassmarket has a  good cast that sets a great pace to this work. This original adaptation is based on a play by Jean-Paul Sartre written in 1948, edited by Austin Hayden and Paul Murphie.

Murphie who directed Dirty Hands also does nice job in a small pivotal role as the ranking member of the IRA. The backdrop in this adaptation is Sinn Féin and the IRA, their ideas as well as their ideals in seeking power during the 80’s. The two differing views on how to achieve this are brought out by two very strong actors. Tom Moriarty playing Moriarty, the man who is the target of assassination, and Mariel Mcallan playing Mariel, the assassin’s contact and interrogator.

These two are wonderful to watch as they battle over Hugo, played well by Austin Hayden and his ideals. Both are so believable in their passion of what they know in their minds is ‘’the right way’’.  I wish they were in the same scenes together! Hanna, Hugo’s wife is also very well cast in Hanna Brown. She is an excellent balance part foil, part innocent seductress as a nice counter to idealistic Hugo.

The two body guards Steve Bangs and Tommy Sloane (who also double in other roles) bring a mixture of brawn and humour to this interesting, fast paced show. The cast creates strong characters with clear objectives. They change sets into three different locations with a minimal stage space and set pieces. Everyone onstage seemed to be dressed in Black or white with Hugo being the exception. His mix of clothes seemed to put him in the middle as he struggles to reach a decision in where to finally place his loyalties.

If you are looking to see one more show, this would be a good choice.