The Approach

This simple and significant piece of theatre commences with three women each sat forebodingly on chairs at various points of the stage, as an ear-scratching soundtrack creates a backdrop that implies something ominous is about to occur. A table in the middle of the stage provides the focus for conversations between two of the women at a time, utilising the banalities of everyday life to shroud, conceal and then reveal a stark, palpable truth that will leave their relationship dynamics forever changed.

Thick with righteous indignation, it’s an easy performance which oozes complexity and leaves us rather changed.

Cathy Belton, Derbhle Crotty and Aisling O’Sullivan’s performances in this play written by Mark O’Rowe are potently compelling. Each woman effortlessly and convincingly inhabits their character, peppering the narrative with nuances that the most intuitive of theatre-goers can spend hours picking over to reveal the truth behind the dynamics we’re presented with. Cora, Anna and Denise each converse on the most banal of topics, from diets, to exercise, to marble-topped sinks. And lurking just beneath these conversations, the air is thick with the reality of what O’Rowe wants to portray - that each of these women has, and is, experiencing their own complex demons. From the suicide of a close friend, to the death of a much-loved pet, to traumatic birth experiences, each woman explores their individual responses to friendship dynamics which seemed so much more vivid and substantial back in the day. We are forced to confront the raw evolution of connection, and of how human nature masquerades facades of wellbeing - while lurking beneath the surface can be the most sinister of circumstances.

This poignant yet elegant material is delivered by Belton, Crotty and O’Sullivan in a gratuitiously Irish manner which warms the audience and keeps us gripped for the duration of the performance. Thick with righteous indignation, it’s an easy performance which oozes complexity and leaves us rather changed. We get the sense that this trio are inextricably linked by their past memories and present realisations, and the audience have been taken on that journey too. A must-see this Fringe!

Reviews by Jodie McVicar

Pleasance Courtyard

Colin Cloud: Psycho(Logical)

★★★★
C venues – C

A Man's a Man

★★★★★
Gilded Balloon Teviot

Laura Lexx: Trying

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Teviot

Juliette Burton: Butterfly Effect

★★★★
Assembly Roxy

Holly Morgan: Madonna or Whore?

★★★★
Pleasance Dome

Arthur Smith: Syd

★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Three women. Three conversations. Listen carefully. A psychological puzzle and a quietly devastating tragedy, The Approach explores the inner lives of Anna, Cora and Denise as they desperately try to make sense of their world. What will their conversations reveal? And what does each of them have to hide? Mark O\'Rowe (Howie the Rookie, Terminus) is one of Ireland\'s leading playwrights. \'Three of the finest performers of their generation\' (Irish Times) – Cathy Belton, Derbhle Crotty, Aisling O\'Sullivan – star in O\'Rowe\'s \'quite simply stunning new play\' (Sunday Independent).