Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Danny And The Deep Blue Sea: Assured, physical, emotional... but submerged by a lack of humour

Published 14/10/2011

Billed as a “fierce comedy”, Danny And The Deep Blue Sea has within it shades of the film Moonstruck, which playwright John Patrick Shanley also wrote. It asks the straightforward question, can love change everything?

Danny’s called ‘The Beast’ by his workmates. The only time he doesn’t hurt is when he’s inflicting pain on others. Roberta has pain written right through her — now she fears nothing but herself and her memories. The pair meet in a bar in the Bronx, where they’re taking a break from life.

Both harbour dark secrets which they believe make them unlovable.

Berlin company 8 (Ocho) has had great success with this hard-hitting production.

Alessija Lause and Nikolaus Szentmiklosi play Roberta and|Danny — one’s a German/Croatian, the other Hungarian/Romanian.

Their Brooklyn accents are pretty perfect, and their performances assured.

The actors square up to each other — literally — in a show that’s as physical as it is emotional, performed against a bare set that’s first a bar, and then a bare room.

They talk; they fight, they dare to trust each other — and then they decide to follow their hearts.

But the pace is ponderous, and a loose script robs the|early scene of much of its energy.

Later, as the pair talk to each other instead of about themselves, Shanley’s writing becomes more tender and engaging, but rarely funny.

When dawn breaks, it offers a brand new start for Roberta and Danny.

Shanley lets them decide whether happiness can ever be theirs.

Grania McFadden

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