Thursday 29 September 2016

Theatre: Curious tale around split personality fails to shine

Emer O'Kelly

Published 17/08/2015 | 02:30

Eloise and Lulu are twins: like two fried eggs. Except they aren't. Lulu and Eloise are the two conflicting personalities of one deeply disturbed woman.

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Eloise is dull, responsible, longing for love, and deeply resentful of Lulu, whose messes, emotional and otherwise, she is expected to mop up.

Lulu, on the other hand, sees Eloise as a useful door mat to be dumped upon.

And then there's Brendan, sweaty, oily from his job in the chip shop. But with nice hands and hairy arms, and Lulu's latest conquest in a very long line of very short-lived unromantic but very carnal encounters.

And Brendan for good or ill, likes BOTH Lulu and Eloise very much.

He's even ready to stick around, knowing that he's putting his head on a very emotionally bloodstained block.

(Mother's in the background: Lulu/Eloise's mother, who seems vaguely to be responsible for screwing up her daughter's equilibrium.)

That's Lindsay Jane Sedgwick's play Fried Eggs, a Moonstone production at Theatre Upstairs at Lanigan's Bar on Eden Quay in Dublin, early evening Tuesday to Saturday, and lunchtime Wednesday and Saturday.

It's very ambitious, and that's the problem: too much "stuff" for a one-woman play; too much convolution in the text; but too little depth in structure, characterisation and playing.

The author directs, which may be part of what's wrong. Artistic incest is an ever-present danger in such circumstances, and on this occasion it's very much in the air. More distance might have made for a better whole.

Karen Connell does her best with the dual personalities, but her playing really isn't up to creating the two halves of mental disturbance: she remains a single actor with a rather physically awkward presence.

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