Sunday 25 March 2018

Review: Hooked! - Rural drama is low-key and charming

Hooked! - Axis Arts Centre, Ballymun

Cast members form Hooked! which is part of the Dublin Theatre Festical
Cast members form Hooked! which is part of the Dublin Theatre Festical

Sophie Gorman

Robert Frost said 'good fences make good neighbours' - and, as Hooked! proves, sometimes you should build them high and not look over those fences. This is about secrets that are so dark and deep we almost need to keep them hidden from ourselves.

Mary and Tom have been married an exhaustingly long time. They live in in an intimate rural community where everyone knows too much about each other, but everyone still manages to have their secrets.

However, the arrival of a new pretty young neighbour from Dublin might just prove the catalyst to bring everyone's skeletons out into the open.

Lydia has lost custody of her young son - perhaps justifiably, given a terrifying situation she left him in - but we sympathise with her, as her loss immense.

Mary has a rage she barely keeps contained and a hidden history with the local sergeant that neither is proud of. And Tom, the gentle giant with a passion for fishing, has an even greater passion for wearing ladies' lingerie - the silkier the better.

Written by Gillian Grattan, this cleverly weaves from the main monologue form to occasional moments of dialogue when paths cross.

It is interesting to see the same event from different perspectives, to see how we shape and tell our own truths.

Steve Blount has such wonderful physicality that he's perfect as the bumbling, lumbering Tom - managing to be both utterly ridiculous and endearing.

He is matched by Tina Kellegher as the manipulative and vengeful Mary, a woman full of bitterness at the pain of rejection by her only daughter.

And they are joined by newcomer Seana Kerslake as the beautiful and achingly grieving Lydia.

Directed by Don Wycherley, this moves at a good pace and always engages. Hooked! is low-key but winningly charming, and Gillian Grattan is a writer to watch and encourage.

Irish Independent

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