Little Thing, Big Thing

A nun and an ex-con find themselves on the run across Ireland, carrying two film rolls, identical in appearance but with very different sets of pictures on them. If this sounds somewhat contrived or like the set-up to a bad joke, Little Thing, Big Thing is very aware of this, and the somewhat implausible beginning allows a lovely set of character sketches and situations to pervade throughout the piece.

The variety of noises Fox and O’Kelly created to show a bumper-to-bumper crawl through a city rush hour was not only funny but also highly effective.

The performances are superb throughout: both Sorcha Fox and Donal O’Kelly excel at creating characters, their physicality allowing a whole cast of personalities to come to life. From the opening moments, in which Fox impersonates a broken statue of the Virgin Mary; to stern police officers; to leprechauns on a pub crawl - the physicality of the two is strikingly strong. Similarly, the way in which the two interact with one another allows the plot to move with pace. The central car chase across Ireland is pitch perfect. The variety of noises Fox and O’Kelly created to show a bumper-to-bumper crawl through a city rush hour was not only funny but also highly effective.

Where the play doesn’t live up to its potential is in elements of the plot, which is confusing at points, and finishes very abruptly with all loose ends tied seconds before the play ends. The move towards an almost mystical ending sits somewhat uneasily with the hour which has gone before it.

There is much to be admired in the play, with neat performances, knowing nods to the Irish literary tradition (direct references to Joyce rooting the action firmly in Dublin), and strong direction. There are lots of interesting ideas about power, authority, and truth which would be interesting to explore further. As it is, the fast-paced narrative structure doesn’t allow for much development of the ideas, but does facilitate good performances and direction.

Reviews by Joanna Bowman

Summerhall

I Gave Him an Orchid

★★★
Summerhall

Gods Are Fallen And All Safety Gone

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

Tomorrow

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Darkly comic thriller from Fishamble by Donal O'Kelly, both double Fringe First winners. An ex-con and nun are chased across Ireland for a roll of film... why the bleedin' fuss? Sorcha Fox and Donal O'Kelly play Martha and Larry, who take a high octane jump into the world of international energy skullduggery, awakening passions they thought were dead. UK Premiere. Supported by Culture Ireland. 'Director Jim Culleton's enjoyable production can effectively do no wrong... imagistic, action-oriented approach to language... Fox and O'Kelly's winning double act... structured like an old-fashioned caper... charmingly hokey narrative' **** (Irish Times).