Tuesday 23 February 2016

Theatre Review: The Book of Condolences by Kieron Connolly (directed by Vincent Smith)

"It's strange the dreams you have when you're insane," declares one of the characters of the stage production, The Book of Condolences, which has just had its opening night at the Teachers' Club on Dublin's Parnell Square. That may be about as close as you will ever get to discerning an underlying 'message' or 'meaning' contained in Kieron Connolly's debut play, directed by Vincent Smith and ably supported by solid performances from all of the cast members.

Those familiar with Connolly's work (three published novels to date - There is a House, Water Sign and Harold) will know what to expect but even the cerebrally-challenging nature of the storyline and the subject (if there is one!) will be impressed by the way that it is skilfully handled and put across on stage.

A disparate group of friends (if they can be called such) meet at a funeral parlour for reasons not entirely clear. It would seem that they have come to pay their condolences except that the coffin is empty - there is no body, or maybe there is just nobody, there. In spite of the complicated plot and structure, with an obvious nod to the comedic stylings of Beckett and Waiting for Godot, by the end, the story has resolved itself into a fairly straightforward parable about learning to let go.

The Book of Condolences is performed by Monaincha Theatre and runs until Saturday, 27 February. The venue is the Teacher's Club on Dublin's Parnell Square and tickets can be bought online.

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