The sound design of the show does just as much, if not more, work in upholding the world of the play. Music Director Michael Stebbings and the band (Aimee Sullivan, Emily Griffiths, Michael Stebbings, Thomas Whaley) outdo themselves. The live music is beautifully integrated into the play, and it is performed by some stellar talent. I would love to see the cast encourage the audience more to join in with the group songs because the feeling of both the space and the show definitely supports audience involvement. The accent work, although it has its expected shaky moments, is well sustained throughout thanks to Accent Coach Hilary Norris.
The character work of the cast is impressive. Nuala (Hilary Norris) is a favourite of mine, with her brilliant outbursts and great one-liners. This is the result of an incredible performance of an equally well-written character. Darragh (Finlay Langelaan) and Aisling (Aimee Sullivan) are also both well defined with clear flaws and redeeming qualities. Caitlin (Karen Anslow) does an admirable job of building a clear personality for a character who does not have many lines to work with.
But, for a character who is so central to the play, Arad (Alex Rabina) is missing much of the detail that makes the other characters so endearing. His background is undefined, with many conflicting details; his character lacks in personality and there is a very confusing exchange about him changing his name, which may be suggestive of him being trans, but it is never revisited, so there is no way to know for sure. It’s hard to know whether these things are a result of the writing of this character or the performance, but either way, it doesn’t quite hit the mark for me and I am left wanting. For lovers, he and Darragh (Finlay Langelaan) also feel a little disconnected, and I think the pair could really benefit from some intimacy coaching as there is definitely a missing tension in some of the earlier scenes. That said, Director Cassandra Tse did a wonderful job of directing their first kiss, which is spontaneous, bashful and more than a little endearing.
Unfortunately, the most intimate scene of the play is lost. Now that the music gives way to the scene, the sound bleed from downstairs suddenly becomes noticeable, and the conversation is drowned out by the laughter and yelling from the rest of the pub. This scene also takes place on the floor, which means that most of the audience does not get to see it, myself included. This is a real shame because it definitely feels like this is the scene that the play is building up to, and the audience doesn’t get the pay-off that the show deserves.
These things aside, Four Nights in the Green Barrow Pub is a piece of heart-warming and fun theatre about self-discovery, and it is a great way to spend your evening. It is showing at 7pm at JJ Murphy’s until Saturday 23 November. To book tickets for the show, visit the Eventfinda website.