Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 24 May 2015

Subtle drama delivers with stylish, multi-layered narrative

Donal O'Hagan's thoughtful debut drama follows TV journalist Dempsey (Jason McLaughlin) from London back to his home in Northern Ireland, on an assignment to make a documentary about the squeezed non-political middle in the 'new' Northern Ireland.

He's been living a 'proper' life in the capital, and associates home with little more than the Crown Bar at Christmas, and a loathing of the word 'wee'.

He arrives back to a warm welcome from his neglected boyfriend Mark (Cillian O'Sullivan), who's another outsider: a Protestant gay man from Cavan.

Director Richard Lavery sets the action amid a jumble of television sets and projector screens, where Dempsey's interviews with locals play out.

But the larger drama remains within his parents' walls, where his father is harbouring a deadly secret, and Dempsey is forced from behind the camera, into the spotlight.

Sensitive performances from the cast, and a clever and subtle script allow us to experience a snapshot of the lives we live today, oblivious to our 'collective negativity' – and to consider how we'd react if our own worlds fell apart.

Martin Byrne's soundtrack and the video backdrops add yet more layers to a play which is both political and personal, effortlessly combining the themes of identity, love and loss without ever complicating the play's narrative.

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