Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Last Summer

I went to the Gate theatre with the Jemser last night to see 'The Last Supper' - a new play by Declan Hughes. I didn’t know what to expect. Declan has written a number of plays over the years none of which I have seen and more recently he has taken to writing thrillers set in Dublin which have been well received. Declan co-founded Rough Magic Theatre Company in 1984 and directed many of the company's productions.

Anyway the play is set in two time periods one in August 1977 and one 30 years later in August 2007. Four lads from the south side of Dublin await the results of their Leaving Certificate in 1977. They are in a band – the band is about to give its first (and as it happens its only) performance. It is a summer of exploring ideas, their sexuality, of fun and wonderment about the future. The world awaits them - one lad is a dreamer, one determined to make money, one running from his dysfunctional family. There is a girl involved (isn’t there always). In 2007 we again meet three of the men and the woman – all now in their late forties and life has happened to all of them.

It’s not a terribly original play but I’m not into experimental theatre anyway and I thoroughly enjoyed it as did Jemser. We both thought the second act much stronger than the first mainly down to the presence of Gary Lydon as the  adult character of the lad who was determined to make money. He has made money, lots of it, from the Celtic Tiger – which is just about going to come crashing down about his ears. Really strong performance. For us the play was nostalgic – more so for me. I did my Leaving Cert in 1978 and a lot of the pop culture references resonated with me - although I wasn't into it at the time I couldn't help but notice it.

The play reminded me of the blog I posted in the summer of 2011 re my own young man  - link here . I hope his journey through life doesn’t leave him as faintly disappointed as many of the characters in last nights play were by their own lives.

Anyway – it’s a good night’s theatre particularly if you were a teenager in the late Seventies, early Eighties. It’s running until  for another few weeks. Go see.

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