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Nutshell review: When Irish Hearts are Praying

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

Image: ABSOLUT Fringe 2011

THE ABSOLUT FRINGE 2011 has over 100 shows playing out across Dublin until 25 September. Each day, TheJournal.ie 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:

When Irish Hearts are Praying

(MIRARI Productions/Alive-O; Smock Alley Theatre)

Ailish Veale’s review: When Irish Hearts are Praying is set in the Smock Alley Theatre, a venue which becomes a character in itself as the re-furbished church now inhabited by atheist and alienated couple Ashling and Rob.

Rob is a property developer on the brink of bankruptcy and Ashling is a lonely housewife comforting herself in the arms of Rob’s ‘knacker brickie’ Damien. Mary is Damien’s wife, a fiery Northsider who has four kids and suffered from post-partum depression. As Mary bursts into Ashling’s home demanding explanations, the lives of the three characters become entangled forever through an act of blind rage.

As this play shifts back and forward in time the audience is treated to a funny and bittersweet mirror image of Celtic Tiger Ireland. The characters question their relationship with Faith, religion and each other in a way that resonates with the audience. The play ends in a dystopian future where, despite the absence of the comforts of consumerism, the characters are more attune to a sense of solidarity and community. This play is an interesting study of Modern Ireland’s rapport with religion, class and intimacy.

In three words? Truthful. Comical. Thought-provoking.

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