Writer: Katie McCann
Director: Jeda de Brí
Playwright and actor Katie McCann takes the female lead in her new play ‘Of a Midnight Meeting’ at Bewley’s Café Theatre this Halloween season. Playing the part of spiritual medium, Hester O’Brien to Naoise Dunbar’s investigator, Dr. Nathaniel Harker, this two-hander pits believers against non-believers.
It’s 1926 and Nathaniel has been sent from Scientific American to assess “Ms O’Brien’s” candidacy for their international competition and its $5,000 prize. Can she prove that ghosts are real? He arrives late in the day. The candles in the candelabra cast soft shadows on the red velvet curtains in the wonderfully evocative early 20th century parlour designed by Chrysi Chatzivasileiou. Costumes by Toni Bailey, and hair and make-up, compliment the characters perfectly.
Hester has secrets and psychiatrist Nathaniel is intent on exposing them, and her. While he conducts “a thorough and scientific examination of her gift” she threatens to “sue him for libel”. He is causing “damage to ‘her’ reputation and ruining ‘her’ livelihood”. And who are Richard Edgerton, Mrs Anna Vice, Eliza Marie Barrett, Robbie, Rose and Charlotte? What were their roles in bringing this night to bear?
With both parties seated at the round table, their hands outstretched, Hester’s veil comes down over her face. In a clever and atmospheric piece of lighting direction by Colm Maher, the candles, including those on our tables, dim. A voice echoes down through the radio. What mischief is this?
Grief is the price we pay for love and in this story we weigh up the damage a charlatan can cause in exploiting this sorrow for monetary gain against the consolation a morsel of contact with a departed loved one can bring via a “genuine empath”. Especially if those bereaved are a child who has lost his mother and a mother who has lost her child.
Although the plot is somewhat predictable, this well acted Agatha Christie like production ‘Of a Midnight Meeting’ with its marvellous set was a very cosy way to spend 50 minutes on a rainy day. Along with, of course, a Bewley’s hot chocolate.
Runs Until 11th November 2023.