The Lyceum has had a good season so far
this year with fine productions of The Price and
The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Jo Clifford's poetic
and moving new play, a very different beast to the others in the
season, is equally as enthralling.
Every One looks at the effects on a
family of a sudden death and does so in a series of expertly delivered
monologues. We see the reactions to the words, which tell us just
as much as the words themselves. The staging is unusual, dispensing
with many theatrical convention. This perhaps unsettles the audience
to begin with but ultimately it is the words that move us.
Kathryn Howden delivers a beautifully
judged performance as mother Mary, who lives for her family. Equally
impressive are Kyle McPhail as her son, immersed in the fantasy
world of computer games, Jenny Hulse the daughter about to leave the
nest, and teacher husband Joe (Jonathan Hacket).The cast in completed
by the excellent Tina Gray as the grandmother living in the past.
of them are jolted into a different world with an event which will
change all of their lives. The grief we see expressed is moving and
realistic but written and acted in such a way that while upsetting to
watch is compelling. Given the subject matter, this could have been a
bleak play: the fact that it isn't says
much for the skill of Clifford's writing.
In the first part the play may be
undramatic in staging but certainly not in emotion. There are surprises
to come in the second part, which are beautifully handled by director
Mark Thomson and designer Frances O'Connor. Clifford has written a terrific play
that has a great connection with its audience and judging by the rapt
attention paid, Every One was listening to every
beautifully crafted word.