Wednesday 20 February 2019

Review: The Plot is a curious mixture of ghost story and expressionist exploration of historical social issues

The Plot The New Theatre, Dublin Until tonight

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Paula Lonergan's play is a curious mixture of ghost story and expressionist exploration of historical social issues.

Lilith (Roseanne Lynch), a young woman who died by suicide in 1891, was cast into an unmarked grave with all the other unruly dead, including sailors, strangers and unbaptised babies. The play centres on a contemporary interview between Lilith and a council official, Edith (Charlotte Rose Keating), as the uneasy ghost tries to make a case for her inclusion in a new official burial plot. Lilith wants a proper headstone that will testify to her having lived.

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We get some backstory for Lilith whose unhappy young marriage left her dysfunctional and depressed. The officious Edith is a modern version of biblical Lot's wife, who was turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back in regret at Sodom. A third character, a narrator/demon, nicely played with puckish overtones by Eoghan Burke, hovers uneasily on the periphery of the action. Aleka Potinga provides haunting cello and voice accompaniment from a score by Mary Barnecutt.

Director Nora Kelly Lester bolsters this theatrical archaeological dig with fine performances. But the core interview has a stilted quality in the writing, and the whole doesn't match the merit of the scattered parts.

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