The West’s Awake
The West’s awake in Sarah-Jane Scott’s stunning debut “Appropriate” even though it’s really wishing it wasn’t. For Sorcha, the west of Ireland’s newest bride, is undergoing an existential crisis of monumental proportions. Staring down the barrel of her well planned life, Sorcha is beginning to realise there’s wisdom in the oldest of sayings. Not necessarily her father’s words: if you find a man and he’s good to ye, keep a good hold of him. Rather Sorcha is realising the truth of another well worn axiom: be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.
In Scott’s sharply observed and supremely funny script, one woman’s wedding day opens up a Pandora's box of existential doubt. If life is what’s happening while you’re waiting for your life to happen, the distinction between the real and the romantic has become so entangled with the romanticised that Sorcha can no longer tell the wood from the trees. For if everything is how its supposed to be, from her perfect dress and perfect hen night to her perfect proposal, okay, maybe they weren’t all that perfect, why is it nothing feels how it’s supposed to feel? For Sorcha feels nothing, being two steps removed from what should be the greatest day of her life. She should know. She’s been planning it for as long as she can remember, right down to the last detail. And she has it all. Fiancé Marty’s a mighty catch, a potential Taoiseach with a hurling pedigree, and all her friends and enemies are suitably impressed or envious. So why has she fled her own reception wondering if the appropriate thing is really the right thing to do?
From its breathless entrance to its less satisfying last seconds, “Appropriate” manages to charm its way inside you, curl itself up, and stay there. Due in no small measure to Scott’s brilliant performance as the schoolmarmish Sorcha, whose smug, self-assured tone disguises a continent of self-doubt and anguish. If “Appropriate” risks its hour long encounter descending into a tediously long venting session, Scott, on stage, skirts the danger admirably by making the audience Sorcha’s intimate confidants while Scott, the writer, ensures there’s enough meat on “Appropriate’s” funny bones to sink your teeth into. Colm Maher’s lights, despite a restricted rig, superbly add gentle accentuations. Director Paul Meade does a top notch job, knowing when to gently steer Scott at key moments and when to get the hell out of her impressive way. For Scott is riveting and irresistible.
Developed as part of Fishamble’s Show-In-A-Bag “Appropriate” might not be a symphony of life but it’s one hell of a Country and Western classic. The sort Shania Twain might sing on her best day, being immediately recognisible, irresistibly singalong and wearing its heart on its sleeve. If it conveniently halts rather than ends, feeling, like Sorcha, stuck and unresolved and going nowhere, that’s partially okay. For “Appropriate” is less about the destination, for maybe there isn't one, and more about the journey, and the view is pretty spectacular. Making it a journey you seriously have to take. Set to play Summerhall in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August, if Scott and “Appropriate" don’t take Edinburgh by storm there’s simply no justice left in the world. So grab a glass of fizz, settle down, and enjoy “Appropriate” before the rest of the world discovers this delightful mini masterpiece.
“Appropriate” by Sarah-Jane Scott, runs at Bewley’s Cafe Theatre until June 8.
For more information, visit Bewley’s Cafe Theatre.