Belfast Telegraph

Review: In The Window - Nuala McKeever's tour de force

By Jackie Bell

Belfast star Nuala McKeever returns to the Lyric Theatre, Belfast this week with her one woman show In The Window as dark themes are looked at with that famous McKeever humour.

With a bit of Frank Sinatra blaring, the audience are introduced to Margaret - a 49-year-old woman who is battling loneliness following the death of her beloved parents and best friend. She has no family or children to speak of and works in an unfulfilling job.

Margaret has had enough and we meet her on the night she decides to go out with a bang, namely a bottle of wine and a bowl of pink pills.

While the first moments of the play are used as an exposition of why Margaret has made the decision to take her own life, what should be a sad story to hear is actually told with humour and wry wit - giving the audience an idea of what's to come for the next hour and a half.

In a typical Northern Irish humour, Margaret questions the best way for her cleaner to find her body the following morning (not wanting to cause her too much bother) and whether or not her local Domino's will miss her.

But it's when Margaret's plans are interrupted by an intruder in her home that In The Window really starts to move on to something spectacular, namely McKeever's performance.

An intruder, a nosy neighbour, and a policeman are introduced to the story and they are all brought to life by the actress - half way through the play and you actually forget she is the only person on stage.

With fast-paced dialogue and narration, McKeever moves from one character, to the next, to the next, with only a change of accent to decipher from each and all performed with complete ease.

Nosy neighbour Kate allows McKeever to stretch her comedy muscles best, while it's her roles as Margaret and troubled teen Chris that allow her to bring the sense of sadness and loneliness to the stage.

Carrying the audience's attention when you are the solo figure is not an easy feat, but this is no bother to the experienced McKeever, who has received critical acclaim for this production as far and wide as Mumbai, India to Kansas City, USA.

While the story itself is an entertaining tale of how one night can unexpectantly change your life, there is one plot point near the end that left the audience with a sense of uncertainty on how to react.

That being said, the standing ovation McKeever received following the show was definitely deserved as the audience celebrated her returns to the Belfast stage.

  • In The Window runs at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast until Sunday, June 4.

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