“The world is sick with dreams.”
Tinderbox Theatre Company previously staged Summertime in the MAC this time last year and Unhome certainly pushes further some of the themes of that disturbing play to the extent it makes Raymond Briggs’ When The Wind Blows nuclear fallout story feel like a rom-com.
The action takes place in the claustrophobic environment of Cait’s front room. There’s shivering and jumping in seats as the shadowy lighting and the porous walls in Ciaran Bagnall’s set allows characters to come and go unnoticed. Actors Miche Doherty and Seamus O’Hara bring a physical presence to the sinister voices that succeed in unsettling the audience as their words rattle around Kitty’s head.
Appropriate for the mood and subject of the play, clouds move across the stage as the light streaming in through the set’s front window changes between acts. Watch out for some beautiful silhouettes created by Simon Bird’s lighting design as actors stand in doorways.
“If you could tell me what it is I could take it …”Unhome is absolutely exhausting to watch and with the dark play running for more than two hours (with interval) it felt too long. At times Justin Yang’s background soundtrack was less than ambient, jerking into earshot rather than gradually looming into the audience’s subconscious. Perhaps that will settle down during the run. If you’re playing Belfast theatre bingo, then put a big cross through translucent wallpaper, chalk and ghosts.
“Every home is a house of horrors”
Last night’s opening clashed with the first episode in the new series of The Fall. Northern Irish noir drama is absolutely in vogue, but very strong language, adult themes and a couple of sinister men you wouldn’t want to meet up a dark Hill Street
Unhome runs upstairs in the MAC until 22 November. Tickets (£12-£17). If you’re under 25 you can take advantage of the £5 ticket offer by calling the box office on 028 9023 5053.
Production shots by Neil Harrison Photography.