“Family life in simpler times, the obnoxious affluence of the boom times and the madness and freedom of youth”: Theatre review of Port Authority

Cast of Port Authority

Cast of Port Authority

Conor McPherson’s Port Authority, in this production by Decadent Theatre, concerns itself with the ordinary lives of three Dublin men of varying ages. These men find themselves recalling experiences in their lives, times in which they were held back by fear. These are tales of loss and love, and of love lost without ever really being gained.

Occupying a sparse, dimly-lit stage, the action in Port Authority occurs only through the stories told by these three men. Speaking directly to the audience, each individual creates a vivid picture of their lives, speaking of family life in simpler times, the obnoxious affluence of the boom times and the madness and freedom of youth.

Carl Kennedy’s exuberant Kevin is the everyman, the young lad we all know, but behind his relaxed demeanour lies feelings of fear and powerlessness surrounding his path in his life.

Phelim Drew is fantastic in the role of Dermot, in what is a physical performance seething with anger and fear, raucous humour and bitter regret.

Garrett Keogh playing Joe, does a wonderful job of representing a man of an older generation, firm in his beliefs and ideals of what is right and wrong, yet ultimately struggling with his own feelings.

It would do a disservice to the entire production to suggest that one performance is more stand-out than another. All three actors perfectly encapsulate their characters, from the tiny physical characteristics that betray their age to the moments of raw emotion and truth.

The sparse setting and direction creates an intimacy and closeness with the audience while McPherson’s rich use of language and colloquial phrases helps each character carve out their own unique voice.

It is true that these are ordinary lives and experiences but Port Authority is never mundane. It is also no tragedy, finding acceptance and humour in these universal experiences.

by Cara Groome Travers

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Port Authority runs at the Civic Theatre, Tallaght until this Saturday, 27th October. Tickets are €20 & €16 and keep an eye out on facebook for special offers.

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About Civic Theatre

The Civic Theatre's Mission is to mount an artistic and challenging programme of contemporary and classical Irish and international work in Theatre, Dance, Opera and Music for the community of South Dublin county and environs. History The Civic Theatre, opened in March 1999, a project of South Dublin County Council and also grant aided by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands. The first production at The Civic Theatre Tallaght was Howie the Rookie by Mark O'Rowe, directed by Mike Bradwell and starring Aidan Kelly and Karl Shiels. It opened on the 23rd March 1999. Since opening we have developed relationships with most Irish theatre companies and most opera, contemporary dance, ballet and children's theatre companies, developing healthy audiences for these. We are particularly proud of our co-productions – to date we've produced; or co-produced 22 plays, involving new Irish writing. We have hosted wonderful international productions, fantastic local work, and we have had some terrific nights of music on stage at the Civic.
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