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David Porter » Reviews » Dancing at Lughnasa

Dancing at Lughnasa

Theatre Royal Youth Theatre Company at The Garage, Norwich

Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 18 March 2005

Dancing at Lughnasa

A timely St Patrick’s Day reminder – Irish dramatists have enriched the English stage for centuries. This contribution to the wealth of our language is in that tradition.

And the Theatre Royal Youth Theatre Company did it in the round! Many experienced actors fight shy of such audience proximity but this talented group handled Irish accents, the second world war and a Tennessee Williams-like rural claustrophobia with flair.

Told through the memories of Michael, played by Sam Claflin with warmth and an ease with Brechtian direct address, it’s a tale of family ties in the winds of change from outside.

The sisters (Monica Mason, Connie Wall, Sophie Utting, Katie Broadbent and Daisy Wood) kept the pace varied and as the intensity built, their maturity in creating characters far older than their years shone, as the cauldron of the family hearth became the spotlight for truth.

Sensitively directed by Jo Reil the humour was subtly caught, the brilliant set served them well and the whole piece was tightly produced.

Harvest dance for the festival of Lughnasa with its heady mix of abandonment and pagan practices was an escape metaphor made poignant by different steps in the cramped kitchen.

Dancing and incantations, life blood and excitement, church and community, the ceremony of life and love – it was all there, all moving. Well worth supporting.

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