The Bald Prima Donna


There's something about the way Geraldine O'Grady pronounces "mayonnaise" that sets the standard for this lightly flavoured production. EugΦne Ionesco could hardly have wished for a more (or less) definitive tone, as if suburbia could be emulsified and bottled. That might seem too purposeful for this exercise in absurdity, however, in which O'Grady and Donal Gallagher play the Smiths, the Martins, the maid and the fireman in a series of interchanging postures on a white settee.

For this Asylum Theatre Company production, Ali Robertson is credited as director; perhaps choreographer would be a better description of the animated scaffolding on which the planks of the play are poised.

Like the speech, the movement of the piece builds remorselessly to its climax of inconsequence. Both players maintain their intelligent grasp of intention in the contortions required for this rational exploration of the irrationality of life.

Although a little dented by the acoustics of a space used more as a gallery than as a theatre, this happy reminder of the comedy released by the absurdist movement works very well with the help of designer John Cumiskey, sound designer Julia Matthews and a blissful moment in a National Chamber Choir/