It's the first day of Northern Ireland's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and Sandra (a committee member) has just pinned her unwelcome sister, Teeni, to the floor. The latter is mouthing all kinds of expletives and racist remarks.
Looks like this is the place in the building where they come to check the power. For the time being, it'll serve as a jail cell. Kicking, screaming, swearing and wrestling - that's a pretty sweet opener right there. Indeed, playwright David Ireland has wasted little time in getting us started. We admire that.
See, this is a new job for Sandra, so the last thing she expected was for her estranged sister to show up. Well, it has been 11 years, and boy, is Teeni a firecracker. She's also gone and punched someone in the head so, yeah, the police are going to treat this as a terrorist attack.
A dark, ambitious and surprisingly humorous production, Everything Between Us has got a lot to say, and not much time to say it in.
For a start, the last time these met ach other, a drunken Teeni was holding a knife over Sandra's infant son.
Presented as a snapshot of a fractious relationship, with political and religious unrest in the shadows, David Ireland's compelling familial drama isn't interested in tying up loose ends. Instead, it asks us to sit up straight and listen. Listen to Teeni and Sandra deliver speeches on alcoholism and the existence of God. Listen as Teeni is informed of everything she's missed since fleeing Belfast.
Sure, there are one too many colourful monologues and you do wonder where the authorities have gotten to, but Everything Between Us is never, ever dull. Abigail McGibbon (Sandra) gives a strong performance as a woman trying to hold everything together on the most important day in her professional life, but the play belongs to Stacey Gregg's Teeni. Clearly, Teeni's got issues but Gregg is magnetic throughout.
Running until Feb 28 HHHHI
> CHRIS WASSER