Theatre review: Far Away, Spike Island (Cork Midsummer)

Judith Roddy and Manus Halligan in Corcadorca's Far Away, on Spike

****

Fear, paranoia and brutality in a world at war are the themes of Corcadorca’s spine-chilling production of Caryl Churchill’s dystopian play. Written in 2000, it feels highly relevant today. When one of the characters nonchalantly talks of having killed two cats and a child under five, the skewed value system of the world created in this play is underlined. Human life is utterly disposable.

The audience is attuned to the terrors of the play when, after disembarking from the ferry and being led into the archway of the fortress, the massive door is slammed shut. Prison wardens in red jump suits don’t make any eye contact with us. We feel trapped.

An air of menace pervades all that follows. Pauline McLynn plays an aunt trying to hide sinister secrets from her niece (Judith Roddy). The pleasant chit-chat of the niece’s job in a hat-making business soon gives way to more darkness and violence.

Director, Pat Kiernan, has made great use of the massive space of the old fortress/prison on Spike. Impressive sound and lighting effects add to the surreal atmosphere of a location that has seen its fair share of human misery through the centuries. Far Away is heavy on metaphor, but it all makes for powerful theatre in a spectacular setting.

  • Until July 1


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