Writer: David Ireland
Director: Sophie Motley
Reviewer: Ciara Murphy
It is the first day of Belfast’s ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ when spokesperson for the Unionist side Sandra Richardson’s (Abigail McGibbon) sister Teeni (Stacey Gregg) storms government buildings looking for her. Once the chaos of this interruption subsides it becomes clear that these two women have not laid eyes on each other in over a decade. With the backdrop of such an important political event, theaudience is immediately curious todiscover what lead these women to this moment.
Everything Between Us was originally commissioned by Belfast theatre company Tinderbox, presented in Dublin by Rough Magic, Ireland’sscript portrays a version of northern Irish life that is for the most part under represented in the south, that of Protestant Unionists. The play’s focus is more than just politics however, it is a medley of comedy, love, heartache and personal struggle. His script is tight and effective, making the most of the play’s short 65 minute duration.
The opening sequence of the play was problematic for this reviewer, one got the feeling that this performance might be a bit tweeand predictable. How many more times will an audience be faced with a dramatisation of Belfast life which is introduced by a bellowing character insisting on their ownidentity? The play soon settled into a more organic dialogue however, and as the politics faded into the background the personal plight of Ireland’s characters started to shine. For this reviewer, the character discovery was both engaging and intriguing. Ireland creates empathy among his audience and it fair to say that the onstage chemistry between the two sisters was both believable and powerful.
Both McGibbon and Gregg deliver solid performances. Gregg’s performance is energetic and powerful, and she constantly re-enforces the vulnerability of her character, marrying this perfectly with the more aggressive and disturbing side of Teenie’s personality. Ireland’s script leaves much of the sister’s story unsaid and the Sophie Motley’s direction ensures that the dialogue is chock full of perfectly delivered hesitations, pauses, and stumbles. As such the quick tempo of the piece never wanes, delivering the audience at a satisfying ending.
Everything Between Us is an intriguing and well balanced look at pride, identity, and personal struggle. This performance is sure to boost Ireland’s profile south of the border.
Photo courtesy of Project Arts Centre. Runs until February 28th.