Theatre this week: Voyeurism at Bewley’s and a Peacock debut
Peep, Porcelain and Private Peaceful alliterate the week in theatre
Bamshad Abedi-Amin (Bill) and Lola Petticrew (Hat) star in Porcelain at the Peacock. Photograph: The Abbey Theatre
Bewley’s Café Theatre, Dublin; Ends March 10th; 1pm €8-€12 (lunch €4); bewleyscafetheatre.com
Let’s face it, voyeurism is one of the eternal appeals of theatre, a medium that knows you’re out there in the dark and that you like to watch. In Peep, a play by Jodi Gray which first debuted with the Miniaturists at London’s Arcola, and is now getting its world premiere at Bewley’s, Alexandra Conlon and Emily Fox play May and Caitlin, two young Dublin women spying from an apartment window on the man across the street who did each of them wrong. There is plenty to see, as he continues to do wrong to a succession of different women.
Gray’s play is a grim and surreal satire on gendered gaze and fractious alliances, because these are two women divided by a common cause. They resent each other bitterly, but keep at their vigil and work to recruit their ex-lover’s latest conquests into this audience of watchers. Directed by Gavin Kostick for Bewley’s Café Theatre, Peep invites you to join their watching, if you dare.
Peacock Stage, Abbey Theatre, Dublin; Ends March 10th, 8pm €16-€25; abbeytheatre.ie
Hat, the young Irish woman in Margaret Perry’s debut play, has not been feeling herself recently. That is partly due to the tragedy of her fellow Tipperary woman Bridget Cleary, who was burned to death in 1895 for being a changeling. Alternately impulsive or withdrawn, Hat may have other parallels with Bridget as she struggles in London with postpartum depression. In intermingling scenes between now and then, director Cathal Cleary barely distinguishes between homes, recognising similarities between a fairy curse and a mood disorder. If these women had any contact, they might recognise each other. Sadly, the show contains little else that comfortably connects, whether it be Hat’s hallucinatory confidant Silvertongue, a structure that seems to leap or crumple with the moods of its character, or plot implausibilities that are not easily supported by underdeveloped supporting characters. The play, as its title suggests, feels finally like a study in fragility, a depiction of a condition more than character. Who wouldn’t want to be someone else?
Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo; March 8th, 8pm, March 9th, 10am; €16/€14 hawkswell.com
Michael Morpurgo, the author of War Horse returns to the front with Private Peaceful, another novel for young readers based on the sacrifices of the first World War. Adapted by Simon Reade, who also directs, this stage version tells the story of a young soldier, Tommo Peaceful, alone in his cell awaiting sunrise before the firing squad for cowardice. Played by Shane O’Regan, who was nominated for his work in the recent Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards, the private’s plight as one of two inseparable brothers facing unimaginable tests highlights the horrors of war and the spirit of life, combined together in this acclaimed one-man performance. Revived from last year, the Verdant and Pemberley Productions collaboration now begins another national tour, including a major appointment at the Gaiety Theatre in late May. That hardly sounds like the action of a deserter, and much more the signs of a determined campaign.