The End of the Road (Site Specific)

October 24, 2013


What is the right sequence when looking back? That is the question asked by Gavin Kostick’s The End of the Road, sensually directed by Louise Lowe based on the real life and very ordinary recollections of Bill. A memory play with site specific leanings it starts at the Project Arts Centre before taking us on a ramble up Fishamble Street, into hotel rooms, busy bars and empty cafes as Dublin old and new floats past, some in character, some just passing by.

Five different actors play Bill who guides us through his reminiscence, breaking from chat only to take up his role in the memory acted out. Depending what time your ticket is for you could get
Robbie O Connor, Michael Glenn Murphy, Ronan Leahy or John Cronin. I got the latter who was terrific, switching from performer to tour guide with ease, helping us loose ourselves in his thoughts before gently guiding us out again. His life is achingly familiar but utterly unique and the magic that Kostick and Lowe find in the everyday is gloriously realised in a number of simple, non linear set pieces.

Playing ‘the mot’ Marry Murray rebuilds the fourth wall beautifully, helping Cronin’s transition so that he is no longer aware of our presence and we no longer need his. Her steely, unmoving gaze and curled lip introduces the woman who is to be his wife, the continual expectation of disappointment etched across her face, a look carried through by the equally brilliant Una Kavanagh, Dee Burke and Bairbre Ní Chaoimh, who carry her delicate, physical gestures also, which indicate the affection the couple had for one another at different stages of their life together.

The Dublin of yesteryear is simply awakened(and yearned for) through Niamh Lunny’s period costumes worn by the numerous extras playing Bill, his wife, his folks and the neighbourhood children. The chilling voice of Eamon DeValrea, the threatening election propaganda (Fina Fail Has Plans For You) makes ominous the innocent and the hope and eventual hardship that came with being the first to be given a flat in Ballymun is quitely realised by Cronin’s most Irish of deliveries.

The End of the Road is an utterly magical slice of theatre. Evocative, immersive and deeply touching it never overplays its hand, outstays its welcome and leaves you wanting just that little bit more.

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