Writer: Honor Molloy
Director: Kira Simring
Reviewer: Adrienne Sowers
Moving back and forth between past and present, imagination and reality, the living and the dead,Crackskull Row is a dreamlike probe into the history of a broken family. On May Eve, when the lines between the living and the dead are blurred, Masher Moorigan (played by the stunningly talented Terry Donnelly) is forced to face the demons of her past when her son Rasher (Colin Lane) is released from prison after serving thirty-three years for patricide.
Against a phenomenal set designed by Daniel Geggatt, the twists and turns of the family history careen their way through the theatre as themes of incest, prostitution, domestic violence, and murder drive the plot forward. Honor Molloy’s script is intentionally convoluted, giving the audience a sense of unsteadiness and lack of security in knowing what is real and true in both the world and in the minds of its inhabitants. However, due to the confusing and unsettling nature of the story, there are times when the threads come a bit loose and the confusion becomes overwhelming, distracting the audience from engaging with what is happening.
The relationships and needs among the cast are strong, and director Kira Smiring clearly guided the cast in building a tight ensemble. Yet it is the moments when the tension spikes and the reality becomes blurred that the specificity wanes and the mind wanders to the craft behind the scene rather that investing in the scene itself. At a peak moment, during a rather violent scene, the fight choreography falls short of convincing, with no naps for the strikes and the timing feeling somewhat cartoonish, and off. For the nature of the play, it does not seem likean intentional choice, but rather a physical element that might needsome more polishing.
The story and language of Crackskull Row are exquisite, and the performances from the actors are lovely against a beautifully designed set. However, looking at the piece as a whole, it falls short of becoming triumphant by leaving the audience asking questions that detract from the play rather than enhance it.
Runs until 25 September 2016 | Image:Michael Bonasio