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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: October 21, 2011 @ 10:58 am

    And the winner of our critics competition is . . . Phil Kingston

    Laurence Mackin

    Phil Kingston lives in Crumlin, Dublin. He saw Mark O’Halloran’s Trade, which ran in the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival, and we felt his short review was particularly articulate and critically engaged with the play. Phil wins a theatre trip for two to London, including tickets to The Playboy of the Western World at The Old Vic Theatre.

    Here is his winning review:

    Five stars

    How to write about love? Make a cliché real again. You know watching Philip Judge’s enraptured Older Man that he’s fallen for Ciaran McCabe’s terse rent-boy and this transaction is going way beyond affectless sex. So far so familiar, but writer Mark O’Halloran’s detailed attention to loneliness and unspoken passion (think Garage) reminds us love is always specific and frequently painful.

    Tom Creed’s direction charts the gentle dance of bitten-back tenderness and, in the Younger Man, gauche and confused sympathy.

    The anonymous site-specific setting of a northside B&B highlights telling details (condoms by the bed, intrusive doorbells) and emphasises the thrill and fear of a relationship that must be hidden.

    But can you have a “relationship” with trade? Judge’s tremerous need for one drives the story and McCabe disappears into a monosyllabic foil. His tentative response to his client’s final hug turns sit-com commonplace into unique compassion.

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