reviews “The Sacred Sow”

June 6th, 2008 at 08:54am brian has a glowing review of The Sacred Sow, our recent production at the Prague Fringe. I’ve heard from several people that they didn’t come to the show and that they’d like to see another run of it, but I don’t know if or when that will happen. The current plan for the show is to work towards taking it to Ireland sometime before the end of the year. For the review, click (more):

“Dark and lyrical, the play’s characters spin yarns about themselves, each other and the traditional, rural Ireland around them. Enter a world of ghosts, faeries and curses, a place where a song can call up the dead and family bonds are never broken.”

The Sacred Sow by local playwright and musician Eleanor Cummins is a tense, hour-long drama dealing with the story of a young man who has begun to outgrow the small Irish town of his origins and the mother who will do almost anything to keep him close. The play is augmented by traditional Irish music peformed by the author on bouzouki and Uilleann piper Matej Tomeš, a backdrop which added a great deal of ambiance and texture to the production.

Though the dialects of the non-Irish cast members were at times a bit inconsistent, this was a very slight flaw in what was overall a very, very good piece of theatre. Supporting actors Mathew Blood-Smyth, Tracy Kearney and Brendan Payne all delivered strong performances, and Eileen Pollock’s portayal of the mother was alternately sympathetic and blood-curdling. James High, whose give-and-take with Blood-Smyth in the roles of long-separated best buddies was both amusing and believeable, had his strongest moment in a very emotional and relevatory scene near the end of the play where his character is confronted by the ghosts of departed loved ones.

Working in the confined quarters of A Studio Rubin, director Brian Caspe made good use of the venue he was given to work with. Nothing about the action was static or claustrophobic despite the limitations of the space. If this high level of production value could be achieved given the time and technical constraints which are necessarily a part of performing at the Fringe Festival, one can only wonder what this ensemble might achieve given a larger, more suitable space and a full-length, intensive rehearsal process. Hopefully that will happen in the future, and when it does, be there to see it.