Tuesday, 5 March 2013
Planet Belfast at the MAC REVIEW
Given the amount of money I seem to spend on theatre tickets, I thought I'd have to miss out on this show by Tinderbox. However every time I opened my facebook profile, someone had posted a photo of Tara Lynne O'Neill on the phone and peering through what looked like fishing line.
Not knowing what the show as actually about stood me in good stead, as a story about a Green politician in Northern Ireland wouldn't really have attracted me. However I'm glad I booked something I wouldn't usually have attended, as otherwise I would have missed out on what was a really strong show.
The show has a lot to say about our local politicians and their inability to look beyond the small things, and highlights the enhancement and perpetuation of our victim status in NI. However the thing that works best about this script is that at no point did I actually like any of the characters, but somehow I still cared. The relationships between a violent bully, an ex-paramilitary/ victim, a feeble husband and a manipulative bitch should not make for a touching story. It's testament to Rosemary Jenkinson's characterisation that each of these relationships has something to offer the audience. Despite their faults we all recognise ourselves or our family on the stage. A minor annoyance was that some of the dialogue jarred a little and seemed unnatural coming from a Belfast mouth, but it was only a minor thing that didn't detract at all from the script. A dark Belfast humour is present throughout and for someone who never laughs out loud at theatre shows, the script made even me let out a few guilty guffaws. For the most part I enjoyed the more naturalistic way the characters' conversed, at times talking over one another, or answering simply with a laugh as they would in real life.
I can't sign off without mention of the set by Ciaran Bagnall. Beautiful and different, it gave the whole piece a futuristic science-fiction feel which only added to the production. I would really like to borrow it for the backdrop to my wedding renewal ceremony, if anyone from Tinderbox is reading!