Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Greta Garbo came to Donegal

What a great title for a play! So of course I had to go to see it at the Tricycle in Kilburn last night. Frank McGuinness is the playwright and earlier plays of his that I really enjoyed are the "Factory Girls", "Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching towards the Somme" and "Someone to Watch over me". But back to Garbo. The arrival of the great actress in 1967 to a house in Donegal signals much drama. Many themes are brought up in the play (too many?) – such as the oppressor and the oppressed, queer desire and love, sibling loyalty and loss, parental loss, and the ache to escape from the daughter in the piece. There are poignant moments in the play with many relationships explored. The two most aching are the female ones – the mother - daughter relationship and the actress - housekeeper one. Greta Garbo had some great lines delivered in a gloomy Swedish deadpan kind of way. The play constantly takes the audience in unexpected directions and while it’s flawed in that it attempts to take on too much, it is nonetheless a great night in the theatre. The humour and the poignancy were well delivered by the excellent cast.

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