Theatre: Till Death We Part by Amy De Bhrún, Theatre Upstairs, Tuesday 16th July, 2013

Originally published by Entertainment.ie, Wednesday 17th July, 2013. To read the original, please click here

Two sides to every face: Amy De Bhrún’s Till Death We Part

“All good things come in threes”, as one of the three characters grappling with mortality in Till Death We Part utters knowingly.

Death looms over Amy De Bhrún’s one-person show to point where it almost becomes another character in the play. The Rathfarnham native’s sixth one- person show – all directed by Helena Browne – focuses on the lives of three Irish people from a range of different socio-economic backgrounds, all faced with grim realities.

Like Pat Kinevane in SilentDe Bhrún breaks the fourth wall almost immediately, involving audience members to the point where the audience is encouraged to care more about the fate of De Bhrún’scharacters. Switching between characters via three different pairs of footwear, De Bhrún recalls the cliché of “walking a mile in somebody’s shoes”.

While De Bhrún’s characters are wonderfully developed – each backstory convincing, each character switched seamlessly – it’s the theme of society failing the individual that dominates Till Death We Part. From healthcare to talent shows, all three characters are failed by systems that rule against them to fatal consequences. It’s a tribute to De Bhrún as a storyteller that all three stories are admirably inter-woven, each character’s highs and lows in synch with one another.

Walking a mile in her characters’ shoes

Where the play falls down is in its soundtrack, which is played in between each scene as De Bhrún is switching character. An earnest poem with a sing-song rhythm and cadence, the soundtrack blunts the narrative and takes away, slightly, from the play. A more creative soundtrack, contextualizing each setting for each character’s scene would have worked much more effectively and would have stretched De Bhrún’s already impressive artistic versatility even further.

Till Death We Part is also thin on physical articulation. Whether playing a bright and bubbly Corkonian or a street-savvy Dub, De Bhrún inhabits each character almost completely, though the physical characteristics and movements of all three characters are not unique enough to each other. The play’s dénouement finds De Bhrún stepping out of all three characters, making use of the stage’s backdrop in a solemn gesture that neatly ties up the narrative.

An ambitious work, Till Death We Part is a play full of passion, verve and full of creative ambition, marking an interesting development in an impressive talent.

Till Death We Parts runs in Theatre Upstairs @ Lanigan’s from 15th – 27th July. 1pm performances: 16th – 20th, 23rd – 27th July. 7Pm performances: 18th – 20th, 25th – 27th July. Tickets: €8/€10 (1pm shows include light lunch).

To book, contact: 085 7727375 or tupstairsbookings@gmail.com

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