Director: Louise Lowe
Reviewer: Ciara L. Murphy
ANU Productions have become a much anticipated part of the annual Dublin Theatre Festival. This year’s sold-out offering The Sin Eaters continues the trend of examining hidden histories and highlighting social inequity. Set in the industrial surrounds of the Dublin Docklands, this show offers its audience a chance to look deeply into the Irish psyche.
ANU pose an intriguing argument to their small, eight person audience during this production: Irish women are the Sin Eaters of Ireland; imbibing the shame, hurt, and inequalities of the nation. Whether you believe this to be true or not is up to you, the information is all there in front of you.
Staged in the immersive fashion Irish audiences have come to expect from ANU, the piece is dynamic but in this reviewer’s opinion lacks some of their usual punch. Working with such an interesting space in fact precludes them from their usual site-specific context, which creates an almost insurmountable distance between themselves and the histories they are conveying.
Lowe’s direction is characteristically tight and the audience are given their usual (but limited) dose of agency in this production. The eight person, all female, cast are a strong ensemble, but the usual sense of urgency is absent here. There are some deeply profound moments. Úna Kavanagh stands out, delivering a heart-wrenchingly vulnerable performance.
This piece is timely, falling during a period of current Irish history where we, as a nation, are re-examining what it means to be a woman in Ireland. Despite an absence of their characteristic heart-pounding action, it is still one of the hottest tickets this season. Get your name on that reserve list.
Runs until 15 October 2017 | Image: Contributed