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ABSOLUT Fringe 2011

Nutshell review: Luca & the Sunshine

Every day, brings you reader-generated reviews of the hottest tickets at the ABSOLUT Fringe Festival 2011.

THE ABSOLUT FRINGE 2011 has over 100 shows playing out across Dublin until 25 September. Each day, will bring you our readers’ reviews of the pick of the crop and everything in between. You’ll get the chance to get in on the act yourself with our daily reader review tickets giveaway!

Today’s review:

Luca & the Sunshine

(donjuandemonaghan; Smock Alley Theatre, today, 3.30pm/6.30pm)

Fiona Cullen’s review: An empty space, a cellist and her technology to one side sets the scene for Luca & the Sunshine, the first play from writer Nick Lee.

We meet Luca, the shy and sensitive schoolboy who quickly draws us into his world of dreary, rainy schooldays, complete with a small but well fleshed-out cast of characters, the distracted school principal, the towering bullies, the bright-eyed love interest.

Told in present tense narrative, the monologue jars slightly at first, but soon settles into an easy rhythm. John Cronin, with his slight frame, coiled nervous energy and boyish face creates an endearing young protagonist, his performance commanding attention throughout.

We watch as he grapples with familiar themes of adolescence, culminating in a wholly unexpected and fantastical ending – is Luca daydreaming the perfect daydream to distract him from his mundane existence, or is this lesson to all to be careful what you wish for?

It is difficult not to be intriguingly distracted by the intense musicality of cellist Lioba Petrie, who performs her self-penned score onstage as Lucas’s tale unfolds. The score is at once brilliantly atmospheric yet unobtrusive, adding drama and light to Cronin’s monologue, and watching Petrie’s clever use of a loop and pedal system was fascinating.

In three words? Atmospheric, enthralling, redeeming.

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