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Marmalade Row – The New Theatre, Dublin

Writer: Ultan Pringle

Director: Julia Appleby

Welcome to Marmalade Row. A street both alike and unlike all others. Travel from house to house, listening in to the secret conversations shared late at night, hear about the intricacies of relationships from those that have just begun to those that go on past their time. Witness how each household becomes a vital part of street life, and piece by piece gain an insight into the mysterious woman who always has the light on.

Marmalade Row covers a lot in a short space of time. Very subtly depicting the weaving of death and the past with the present. This is shown as the first couple question their memories to try to settle on a common ground while the second couple, in chapter four, only on their second date, conversation zinging, as they work their way into each other. As in life what is not said is as important as what is said. Each conversation mentions the house at number four. The ‘poor woman who must never sleep’, who has her light on all night, who might be wondering about him at the same time, bed bound and lost he thinks about her and the human shaped space in his life. Her silence has touched the young woman who remembers the morning before it all happened and who saw something both beautiful and strange, and was able to see someone come alive in their death. In the fifth conversation a young woman is speaking either to herself or to the others in the street even though they cannot hear her. She knows the secrets of each one and yearns for ‘the life outside her door’ and the love that others seem to share.

The script is well shaped, as is shown in house one with the interweaving back and fore of a long-term couple moving in and out of subjects while circling the one big subject that neither quite want to broach but even after many years cannot quite disappear. Fully brought to life the actors capture the vocal mannerisms and emotions of each character seemingly with ease. An instrumental introduction for each conversation, leads into and sets the scene for the listener, lighter or more ominous depending on the tone of the dialogue to come. This is a great addition by composer and sound designer HK Ni Shioradain.

Difficult to summarise without giving too much away; it is probably better to grab a ticket and sit down and listen. Marmalade Road is a radio play that shows how important it is for theatres and theatregoers to open their doors and their minds to different versions of theatre. And in doing so, they may be gifted the chance to walk into different lives playing out around them.

Runs Until 11 November 2021.

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The Ireland team is currently under the editorship of Laura Marriott. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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