Writer: Seanan McDonnell
Director: Conor Hanratty
Reviewer: Laura Marriott
The Gutter Bookshop is nestled behind Smock Alley Theatre at the bottom of Cow’s Lane, an area of Dublin on the edge of Temple Bar, that is crammed with cake shops and boutique jewellery stores. It is the perfect place to set a play. One of the benefits of the Fringe Festival is that small scale plays such as End Of. are given the chance to show off what they can do in unusual or different locations.
End Of., a play by writer Seanan McDonnell, makes excellent use of its setting. The story is set in the bookshop itself. The characters move around the counter and boxes of books as if they have been doing so for years. It feels natural and is a clever use of space to further a story. Near the end the setting becomes increasingly significant. Without giving spoilers, the production team have managed to do wonders with the space provided.
The characters spend their lives with books. They are surrounded by the summation of human knowledge and experience. This becomes overlooked though as an argument at the beginning of the working day begins to escalate. Shiv, played by Charlene Craig, and Drew, played by Will Irvine, are getting ready for the day when they are interrupted by Ciaran, their new boss played by Damian Gildea. Drew has always aspired to be an actor but life has not gone to plan and he finds himself working year in year out in the shop. Shiv still has hope of a different life although her academic history is less than inspiring. When they discover something unusual has made its way to the counter Shiv is full curiosity, calling Ciaran to take part in her excitement. Drew however is sceptical. As they argue their points become increasingly polarised, angry and personal.
Written during the recent political changes in America and Europe End Of. skewers the violence of modern disagreements in a humorous and interesting way. This was a pleasant evening and another valuable addition to the Fringe Festival programme.
Runs until 24 September 2017 | Image: Contributed