Director and Writer: Michael Hilliard Mulcahy
Reviewer: Ciara Murphy
After Sarah Miles is a tender story about one man’s exploration of self, home and love. Starring Don Wycherley, this one-man show is both charming and engaging. Starting with Bobeen’s first drink in The Star Inn, as an extra in a movie as a teenager, this story moves on throughout his life encapsulating the rural Irish landscape as it moves forward.
Hilliard Mulcahy’s script is truly organic. Moving at a nice pace, the story is peppered with highs and lows, but is never dark or morbid. Wycherley delivers the performance in a way that is both natural and energetic, as genuinely as if the story were his own. The tone of the piece is conversational and there is a warmth in the performance that allows the audience to sink into the universal stories of this man’s life. Love, family and the loss of both gives the story a beautiful narrative arc as Bobeen’s story meanders into the twenty first century.
The set is predictably nautically themed, but its minimalism works in the small space. The overarching presence of the peaceful and at times ominous Atlantic Ocean lingers on the stage, helped along by the sound design (Sam Jackson). Although there is very minimal sound design in the piece, what is present works in tandem with Wycherley, creating a cosy atmosphere in The Civic Theatre’s Loose End Studio.
This play is a local one, but the audience need know nothing about Kerry to enjoy it. Wycherley succeeds in painting the picture of his character’s world with his delivery and one can almost see Fungi the Dolphin romping in the Atlantic waves.
The lighting design had several shaky moments, which unfortunately penetrated the world of the performance, jarring the audience out of their comfort zones. However, this reviewer feels that this was not an intentional design flaw, but more the type of technical glitch that comes with a touring production.
Wycherley’s performance gave life to Hilliard Mulcahy’s created world. With an abundance of characters represented in the piece, After Sarah Miles never for a moment felt as if it could have been anything other than a one-man show.
Intimate and beautiful, Wycherley’s performance is superb.
Photo courtesy of the Dublin Theatre Festival. Runs until October 4th as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival and touring across Dublin until October 11th.