Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Review: Request Programme


This production of Request Programme is a one-woman play staged in an apartment in Millenium Tower on Millenium Walkway. It depicts the private life of an ordinary woman arriving home in the evening after a day's work. There's no dialogue, and little noise other than the TV and radio she briefly turns on. With no plot or dramatic conflict in the usual sense - just the unspoken emotions of the character - this might sound a little dull, but it's not. This is a gripping performance.

Before the play starts the audience are given the chance to wander around freely within the apartment, looking at, picking up, and examining anything they wish to. It's an enjoyable and interesting experience in its own right, provoking curiousity about the apartment's inhabitant so that by the time she arrives we already know a little about her and want to know more.

The acting is technically superb. The actress, Eileen Walsh, succeeds in transforming the mundanities of everyday life into an exhilarating and powerful performance. She makes it easy to forget you're physically sharing a space with her; she entirely avoids the natural instinct to make eye contact.

Should you have the chance, I'd suggest this play would be particularly suitable for a group. Arrive early, and use to the full your time in the apartment before the play starts - examine everything, disturb nothing.

Request Programme was originally written four decades ago, so it might seem odd to describe it as innovative, but it genuinely is. It breaks all the rules and gets away with it. Highly recommended.

Request Programme continues on selected dates to 16th October. The performance runs for 1 hour with no interval. Tickets cost €15.

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