Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Theatre: B For Baby

I've been impressed by the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival so far. Some shows have been spectacular (Circa) or exceptionally engaging (Internal). B for Baby is a much more conventional play than either of those performances, but that's not a criticism - it does what it does very well.


B for Baby is mostly set in a residential care home for adults with intellectual disabilities. Two of the characters, 'B' and 'Dee' are residents of the home, while the other characters are "normal" people. Louis Lovett's performance as B is the highlight of the show - his deadpan delivery of childishly silly comments manages to be funny without being farcical or insensitive. He also plays the minor character Brian, while Michele Moran plays both Dee and "Mrs C".

The play deals with serious, emotionally powerful subjects, but never becomes preachy. It simply presents the issues and conflicts as they arise, and uses them to good dramatic effect.

The Peacock stage is just the right size for the play. (It would have been swallowed up by the vastness of the Abbey's main stage.) I also quite liked the music and the set.

The ending of the play is perhaps its one weak point. After a dramatic conclusion to the key relationship of the play, the final scene seems a little underwhelming. This doesn't spoil an otherwise excellent play.

Conclusion: Highly enjoyable; a beautiful and very funny play.

B for Baby is on in the Abbey Theatre (on the Peacock stage) up to and including Saturday 6th November. Prices range from €15 to €25 and there are both evening and matinee performances. The show runs for a little over two hours including an interval. Contains partial nudity.

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