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Thursday 8 December 2016

Theatre: Catch this acidly funny play

Emer O'Kelly

Published 30/11/2015 | 02:30

Acid test: Stephen Jones in From Eden at Theatre Upstairs
Acid test: Stephen Jones in From Eden at Theatre Upstairs

The writing credit "by Stephen Jones" sent me scrabbling for my programme to check details after I had seen From Eden at Theatre Upstairs a Lanigan's Bar on Eden Quay in Dublin.

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The cast is composed of Seana Kerslake and Stephen Jones - the very same Stephen Jones. It seems almost unfair that an actor giving such a polished performance should also be responsible for one of the most acidly funny, needle-sharp short plays I've seen in quite a while.

Take one New Year's Eve party and two disillusioned people, strangers to each other, who find themselves taking refuge in an about-to-be-restored bathroom.

Yawn, yawn? No, no.

Alan and Eva haven't done much feasting at life's banquet and neither feels like taking part in imposed jollification. Initially, it appears that it's merely a comparatively sensible loathing for enforced gaiety that they share; but there are darker elements in both their lives which are rolled out skilfully over the hour's duration. These are two badly damaged people and if there's a new year miracle in progress it would seem to be the fact that they are here at all.

But Jones gives his piece a slightly downbeat and hopeful ending that offers no neat solutions. He and Kerslake are subtly and technically perfectly directed by Karl Shiels in an excellent set by Katie Davenport lit by Eoin Stapleton.

It's an Awake and Sing production. Correction: In our theatre review last Sunday, November 22, we indicated that the theatrical performance of Ingmar Bergman's "Through a Glass Darkly", currently at the Project in Dublin, was not an adaptation approved by Bergman during his lifetime. We have been notified by theatre producer Andrew Higgie that the adaptation had indeed been approved personally by Ingmar Bergman before his death. We apologise for the error.

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