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Review: Death of the Tradesmen

Project Arts Centre, Cube

Last year, Shaun Dunne and Talking Shop Ensemble tackled emigration with I’m a Homebird, and here, they’ve focused on the army of tradesmen who’ve moved from struggling to keep up with the work, to hustling for nixers in a car-crash economy.

Fifty-four-year-old tradesman Willy may be the core of the piece, but it is his wife, played by Lauren Larkin, who is the fuel in the fire. Dunne delivers a touching, heartfelt script; the banter of husband and wife flickers with genuine humour, and the jabs go from gently admonishing to intentionally bruising as their situation hardens and the walls close in. As Larkin struggles to maintain the small shard of domestic bliss it has taken her years to fence off, the cracks widen and the security of their home life buckles and breaks under the battery of everyday bills and pressure.

This is smart, effective and authentic theatre, with two strong central performances from Dunne and Larkin. The production might be a little too long, but an audience would want to have hearts of stone to not be touched by a story that strikes home, in more ways than one.

Laurence Mackin

Runs until September 15th

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