With Kitty and Damnation, a rollicking yarn with bawdy wenches, comic hi-jinks and tragic mishaps, dramatist Joseph Crilly wants to take “theatre back to the way it was before TV and cinema”. Set in 1829 against a backdrop of social and political upheaval, this is a touching exploration of the passions that drive, destruct and delude the human spirit. At its core is a moving tale of wanting to better oneself against all the odds.

There are some impressive performances. There is the charming and fiesty heroine, Kitty (Amy Molloy), an aspiring actress from the bogs of Ireland, a wannabe lothario (Shane Armstrong), the great tragedian Edmund Keane (Edward Kingham) and a motley collection of snotty, uptight Brits.

The story follows Kitty’s efforts to break onto the London stage after an inspirational encounter with Keane in Belfast. The path of true love and ambition, however, turns out to be a farcical and ultimately tragic comedy of errors.

This is a bold and entertaining new work that boasts some terrific comic set-pieces, lively banter and some strong performances. As Kean, Kingham subtly captures the actor’s grandiosity and theatricality, resisting the temptation to over-act, and Molloy makes for an engagingly plucky if slightly bonkers heroine.

Unfortunately the first act is too lengthy and could do with cutting and the Anglo/Irish political tensions that serve as the backdrop never seem entirely relevant.

- Elizabeth Fitzherbert