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  • Chris ORourke

Dublin Fringe Festival 2018: Summertime

Summertime. Image by Dara Ó Cairbre


Pieces Of Summer

Stash, a barmaid and artist who works with textiles, leaves her feelings unspoken when her boyfriend Steve inflicts an unintentional wound. Unspoken to Steve that is. For everyone else is fully aware of it. And of Steve’s bewilderment as Stash begins to change. If you ever wanted a masterclass in how to take a simple idea and execute it to near perfection in fifteen minutes, look no further than James Elliott’s utterly delectable “Summertime.”

Elliot’s premise is simple. Something overheard in a bar not intended as an insult becomes a festering wound that drives two people apart. Their separation, and possible journey back together, is presented via two overlapping, live monologues delivered through headphones as the troubled couple, moving through the audience, undulate in and out of learning to communicate.

That Elliot has you rooting for the star crossed lovers within a mere matter of minutes is a testament to his succinct and irresistible script. And to some first class direction by John King which ensures the audience are made friends and confidants as the couple share their respective sides of the story. But “Summertime’s” real genius lies in the irresistible chemistry between a sublime Danielle Galligan as Stash, and a superb Finbarr Doyle as Steve. Both Galligan and Doyle deliver stunningly engaging performances, wearing their hearts on their sleeves. Even if they don’t dare show their feelings to each other, the audience become third wheels as they share their confidences and conversations. The ingenious interplay of dual monologues played through headphones is a master stroke. In theory, it sounds like it shouldn’t work. Yet it works to near perfection, forcing you to focus and listen, knowing you can’t possibly hear it all, yet somehow you catch it all. Beautifully supported by an excellent sound design and original composition by Jennifer O’Malley, and played out in a simple yet effective design by Ellen Kirk.

So treat yourself. Go see “Summertime.” Not because it’s a delightful way to put in fifteen minutes in between shows, but because “Summertime” is a heartfelt, genius, and beautifully executed show in its own right. Summer is not over quite yet. In “Summertime” several pieces of summer remain to be had. And in the hands of Galligan and Doyle, it’s fifteen minutes of near summer perfection. Unquestionably the secret gem of the festival. Not to be missed.

“Summertime” by James Elliott, runs at Filmbase as part of Dublin Fringe Festival 2018 until September 23.

For more information, visit Dublin Fringe Festival 2018

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