Bone - Review

Playwright John Donnelly has created a play from three inter-cutting but unrelated monologues. It can be argued that they do share some common ground – each is full of anger and there are elements of loss in all three.

Helen is a farmer’s wife trying to cope with life now that her husband is no longer with her. The grief of this loss is compounded by the slaughter of her livestock following an outbreak of disease at a neighbour’s farm.

Suicide is very much an option and attempts are made not only by Helen but also by the second character, Stephen.

He is a smug Marketing Manager with problems of communication and commitment. Having lost the love of his life in a self destructive moment he fails to come to terms with the loss and cannot move on. He continues to fantasize about reconciliations.

Alcohol fails to provide any relief so he too looks to suicide as the answer.

There was a strong performance from Sidney Sloane, as Stephen, that brought out the complexities of the character.

Completing the trio is a young solider on the eve of his departure for active service. Jamie is an aggressive, foul mouthed, sexual braggart on a drink fueled night out and looking for yet another conquest. A thoroughly unpleasant character, little deserving of any sympathy, yet Dean Atta managed to evoke some in a scene towards the end of the play - a delicate contrast to the robust performance that preceded it.

As Helen, the character that almost from the start one could feel for, Sinead Gillespie gave a beautiful and moving performance. At times her delivery took on a poetic quality.

Whilst the quality of the acting could be appreciated whole heartedly I suspect that the style of the play itself or its content may not have been to everyone’s liking. It took me quite a while to take to it. It wasn’t helped by the slow start that irritated rather than intrigued. Once it got under way I began to be drawn into the stories being unfolded despite lacking sympathy for the two male characters.

Also I had mixed feelings about the production being a promenade one. Granted that by having the audience standing amidst the actors it enabled them to engage with the characters and their emotions, but there were times when I felt that the rapport was broken by someone being too close to an actor and drawing one’s eyes away.


Barrie Jerram

18 February 2007