Wishful Thinking – The New Theatre, Dublin

Writer: Shaunna Lee Lynch

Director: Ciarán MacArtain

Reviewer: David Keane

Leaving a far from illustrious journalism career in London, one that involved more pouring coffee than Pulitzers, Siobhán (Karen Killenn) finds herself back home in East Cork and living with her mother Angela (Claire O’Donovan). She quickly realises that the place she left behind is no longer the same and neither are the people. In the wake of her aunt’s death, Siobhán’s cousin Mags (Síofra O Meara) and her mother have a new found New Age positivity that is in conflict with Siobhán’s more nihilistic nature. Dismissive of their enlightenment, they challenge her to stop criticising others and take a look inwards.

As Siobhán tries to find herself with the help of a local healer Bláthnaid (Shaunna Lee Lynch) things begin to change for her and her family, though not always as expected.

The strong characters and sharp writing in Wishful Thinking provide plenty of laughs with all too recognisable, and often cringey, personality traits. While it’s easy to poke fun at some of the mystical elements espoused by so-called shaman like Bláthnaid, a mirror is also held up to the ever doubtful unbelievers. This balance is nicely achieved and is never wholly one-sided.

In a show full of humour Wishful Thinking none the less gets to explore deeper elements of the human condition, such as grief, hopes, and family bonds. Beyond the East Cork quips and “pessimism exorcisms” lies a story about finding truth and dealing with life’s problems. Running away from issues, whether figuratively or literally, seldom brings about real solutions. Shaunna Lee Lynch’s soulful tale offers an introspective glance at what can happen when we don’t pay heed to our own lives. Presented by Strive Theatre and directed by Ciarán MacArtain Wishful Thinking shows us that we’re all searching for something, we just sometimes look in the wrong places.

Runs until 21 September 2019 | Image: Elaina Walsh O’Reilly

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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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