Writer: Bairbre Guilfoyle
Director: Clare Maguire
Reviewer: Ciara Murphy
Presented by Runcible Spoon Theatre Company Cornerstones is an edgy, brutal, and searingly honest account of homelessness in Dublin.
Four youths (Ciara, played by Kate Gilmore, Jonno, played by Ste Murray, Mandy, played by Cara Christie, and Derry, played by Terry O’ Neill) find solace in a squat in Dublin City and from the start of the performance it is unclear as to whether they are friends or enemies. Personal boundaries are questionable in this piece with Guilfoyle’s script touching on the most harrowing aspects of life on the streets.
The success of Cornerstones comes from Guilfoyle’s script. Her characters are believable – detestable at their worst and heart-wrenchingly fragile at their best – the audience can’t help but empathise with the four characters as they battle addiction, identity, love, and loneliness. For this reviewer Kate Gilmore’s performance as Ciara was the highlight of the piece. Gilmore successfully balanced the extreme’s of her character’s personality, plunging the depths of her character’s tribulations.
The staging of Cornerstones was problematic as were parts of the direction. The Civic Theatre’s Loose End Studio is a small and intimate space, well suited to the play’s setting. However, the frequent entrances and exits and the hyper-physicality of the action at times felt more uncontained than it needed to be. When Murray’s character Jonno exited the space at the rear of the intimate auditorium the room was bathed in fluorescent light which was distracting and took from the content of the piece. Even simply turning off the light in the external corridor would have solved this issue. Despite this, when Maguire’s direction worked, it really hit home, with the drug fueled ‘rave’ scenes some of the most powerful of the performance.
This performance is youthful, powerful, and physical, full of startling highs and despairing lows. Guilfoyle is one to watch
Photo courtesy of the Civic Theatre. Runs until February 21st.