They say good fences make good neighbours, but, for old university friends, Robert and Mona, the discovery of a mystery fence built between their properties leads them to unearth years of buried tension. It sets in motion a teenage love, as well as a slew of problems between the formerly good neighbours; bringing up arguments and petty concerns that lead to the airing of grievances that have bubbled silently beneath the surface for years.
Things that Divide Us (written by Erin Hug) is the latest offering from actor/director Shane Robinson and is, essentially, as the title suggests, a play which highlights how petty even the very best of friends can become and how relationships can be forged and strengthened within division.
Quirky from the offset, Things that Divide Us is altogether upbeat and funny.
The casting is flawless. Each character is expertly cast and although the actors are of a young age, their performances showed nothing but strength and maturity beyond their years.
A simple, yet colourful, set consisting of two front doors and a white picket fence dividing properties provided the perfect backdrop for the production and further instilled into the audience the sense of division and separation between the feuding friends.
Comic timing was key to the success of this play. Snappy dialogue and tête-à-têtes meant that each actor had to be on the ball. As it was opening night, nerves could be forgiven, had there been any. The interaction of the characters was natural and relaxed. The humour felt unrehearsed and conversational, normal.
Declan Ryan’s portrayal of Robert was entirely amusing, effortless and captivating but when coupled with his on-stage wife Orla (played by Clodagh ni Fhaoláin), the chemistry and relationship of their characters delighted and entertained all.
Jessie Doyle’s Sheena was the epitome of a youth struggling with self-awareness and the emergence of sexuality.
A show-stealing performance was presented Éinne Ó Connachtain. His presence on stage, coupled with his ability to bring to life the ever upbeat, nature-loving, fitness-freak handyman, Owen, was both commendable and enjoyable. His relationship with his son, Hasselhoff enthusiast (yes, as in David Hasselhoff) Bartley (played by Eoin Mannion), was both endearing and cringe worthy. Perfection.
The production flowed seamlessly which made the interval seem like a massive inconvenience. The lighting for the quick change scenes was spot on and the soundtrack assisted in the creation of a light, ‘bouncy’ atmosphere.
I cannot recommend this play highly enough. I tip my metaphorical hat to all involved.
Date: Tue 01 October 2013 – Sat 05 October 2013
Venue: The Teacher’s Club, 36 Parnell Square West
Price: €10 – €12