Edinburgh Fringe 2012
An acclaimed black comedy about a dinner party that never ends.
Five people are talking casually at a dinner party. It is friendly, relaxed, even banal. Two couples, one woman is pregnant, and a single man.
They chat, they dance. Everything is friendly and happy, it is hard to detect who is with who, who are the hosts. It is totally natural and amusing. . The lighting is low, though, which gives the dark curtained setting a feeling that this amiability may not be quite what it seems Then it is time for the visitors to go.
Kisses and hugs are exchanged with enthusiasm or self consciousness. And then everything stops…
This extraordinarily powerful play gradually reveals itself with the inevitability of a tap dripping from an imploded boiler. Secrets are exchanged, relationships and deceits exposed, a sort of truth game reveals more than the friends want to hear and the seemingly strong friendships begin to crumble as illusions are threatened and a violence intrudes. There seems to be a glimpse of a sort of salvation or escape but this in itself is a threat, and we are left……but I do not want to reveal any more, it is a play to be seen and savoured.
This is a play that intrigues and mystifies, moving from the most banal naturalism to deeply disturbing threat and shocking outbursts. Simply set in the three sided intimate stage of the Pleasance Courtyard Upstairs you immediately know something of the people, the place, the time, the class, and become involved in the lives of the five friends and the tensions build with an inevitablility that draws you in. It has suggestions of a Mike Leigh play or echoes of some of Priestley’s Time plays, but it has its own modern stamp, and is played with total conviction., The extraordinarily natural dialogue masks a finely constructed narrative full of subtle humour and strong climaxes.
The performers are always believable and often riveting. Christine Carty especially is nervy and vibrant as the hostess, and Tom McHugh as her husband scary with his suppressed violence. Jack MacNamara has devised and directed. It is a most eloquent, disturbing and intriguing piece of Fringe Theatre at its best.