The Roaring of the Voices

Gosh this is good. Gently told, beautifully written, truthfully enacted, a devastating study of character and relationship.

Gently told, beautifully written, truthfully enacted

Dublin writer Mark Aylward certainly knows how to put words together to build a story. Most of his sentences have four words or fewer but, gently and steadily, he stitches them together to make a tapestry. Master wordsmiths like this certainly know how to make the small words add up. Aylward turns little tributaries into roaring oceans. The story gently emerges from a simple setting; a young couple, Richard and Hannah, are brought together by attraction, then ripped apart by decisions. The young man’s older self watches throughout, played as ‘the old man’, damning his own youthful infatuation, to his drink-addled mind misguided and inexplicable. But what would the old man himself do if he could be taken back to that moment of first love and look again into the temptress’ emerald green eyes?

Aylward formed 3 Pint Productions with two acting buddies to realise this piece and boy did he choose shrewdly. Dubliner Martin Brennan has been doing this sort of thing for years and goodness me, it shows. What a wonderful performance as the old man, playing both sot and fury, one moment rolling and staggering around the stage, too drunk to stand (or perhaps too tired, too agonised), the next clasping his hands to his ears, unable to listen. We can almost smell the whiskey on his breath. Alan Grant, from Kells, builds the character of Richard gently but sure-footedly to that climactic moment where he lets rip in a thunderous exchange with the old man. What a wonderful concept, that we should angrily defy criticisms that we make, masters in hindsight, of our younger selves. Recent ICMT graduate and fine actress Shelley Gibson completes the trio to realise the character of Hannah. A dark haired, green-eyed Irish siren, Gibson takes us moment by moment on Hannah’s emotional rollercoaster in a completely convincing way. She delivers a series of soulful monologues on sofa beds, on clementine oranges, on what’s for dinner. It is a wonderful onstage trio who turn up and down the heat beautifully to glide us through the story, always gripped, often uncertain and ultimately shaken.

In the play, Hannah says her fantasy is to kiss Albert Finney on a yacht in the Med. My fantasy is to come to the Fringe and watch productions like this. Roaring of the Voices? These ones purr.

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Performances

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The Blurb

They say a bull sees red when it loses the plot. That’s the difference between people and bulls – we don’t see nuttin'. No red. Not black or white or any old colour. It’s a mist. A sea. A blur. If you could see yerself you’d laugh. Or cry. One of those things. A contemporary play from Mark Aylward which follows the strained relationship between Richard and Hannah, spanning two timelines. Starring Martin Brennan as Old Man, Shelley Gibson as Hannah and Alan Grant as Richard. Written and directed by Mark Aylward.

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