Monday 26 August 2019

Redemption Falls at An Taibhdhearc, Galway: The tragedy of war and its aftermath

Redemption Falls
Redemption Falls

Katy Hayes

Galway's Moonfish Theatre's adaptation of Joseph O'Connor's 2007 novel is ambitious. Freely adapted, it pretty much sticks to the original story, but amplifies the novel's literary style with a dynamic flurry of musical theatricality.

Like the novel, at its core is a desire to show the ugliness of the American Civil War, the action filtered through the experience of Irish immigrants.

Jedda Mooney, a mute and shell-shocked little drummer boy, is taken in by an Irish Yankee general. His sister, Eliza Mooney, sets off in search of him, walking from the deep south to the north-west, a trek that takes two years and sees her captured by bandits.

Memorable moments include the little boy's war drum spurting blood; a walking barrel to signify Eliza's long trek; the playing of string instruments to represent violation. Lian Bell's clever set matches the inventive style, using image and text projections on to tent-like canvases at the rear.

The adaptation is devised by the company, with all the richness and variety that springs from this. But no director is credited and the often brilliant ingredients are crying out for tighter control. The theatrical battlefield also needs its generals.

This production will tour to the Abbey's Peacock stage during October's Dublin Theatre Festival.

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