Remember to Breathe review: A play of hidden depths | Tiger Dublin Fringe

Orla Murphy’s play rises above familiar tales of recent Irish exile

Liz Fitzgibbon

Liz Fitzgibbon

 

Remember to Breathe

Smock Alley Theatre

****

 

Maeve is on shifting ground. The aftershocks of the Christchurch earthquake create physical and emotional tremors for this young Irish emigrant, whose present and past lives blur into an anxious mess. Learning to swim becomes the metaphor for her survival in this fine, understated play. Writer and director Orla Murphy draws on her own emigrant experiences in New Zealand, and it rises above familiar tales of recent Irish exile through the subtle clarity of the writing and the wonderfully judged performances. Liz Fitzgibbon, poised to dive into real and imaginary pools, gracefully and honestly elicits Maeve’s uncertainties and contradictions, her fragility and stubbornness, her love of father and home and need to escape. Raymond Keane, moving eloquently about the stage, misses none of Johnny’s outward charm and deep connection with his daughter while hinting at personal disappointments and a darker well within. Geraldine McAlinden embodies Doreen, the ebullient, Kiwi swimming instructor who takes no prisoners as she roars instruction and encouragement from the empty bricked windows towering above the Smock Alley’s Boys School stage. It’s a perfect space for memory to surface.

Until September 12th

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