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Articles and Reviews: Theatre

Double Helix

By the director and cast of Peacock Theatre

Double Helix is a sad case of the king’s new clothes. It presumably considers itself terribly avant-garde, but there is really very little here that’s new. Gertrude Montgomery, Martin Murphy, Stephen Kennedy, Derdriu Ring and Olwen Fouere take on different roles under John Crowley’s direction, and the projected backdrops, depicting hospital charts, foetuses and maps of Rome, are interesting, but the whole is unconnected and unrelated, adding up to considerably less than the sum of its constituent parts. Perhaps this is the result of the collaborative, workshop approach to writing, rather than having one authorial voice, a single locus from which meaning (or lack of it) emanates.

 

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The play seems to be trying to say something about the fracturing and redefining of Irish identity, and yokes this to a metaphor of genetically inherited diseases, but as to what the point is, your guess is as good as mine. Double Helix is nothing that wasn’t being done an awful lot better in poky basements in New York’s East Village 30 years ago.
A footnote: keep the programme and read the garbled outpourings that pass for introductory notes, written by no less a luminary than John Waters, over breakfast the following morning. There’s nothing like a good laugh to start the day.

First published in The Big Issues

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

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