Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sugarglass Theatre, 'Five Minutes Later': Disconnect Four

Temporal relationships are the focus of Ellen Flynn's debut play. Can four individuals connect in a hyper-connected world? 

The Lir
Aug 28-Sept 6 

My review of Five Minutes Later by Ellen Flynn coming up just as soon as I go around the corner for love ...

"I don't know how to approach it" confides a frayed singleton in Ellen Flynn's play, played with tenacity by Bob Kelly. Alluding to a modern dating world where virtual profiles and speed dating have made it easier for encounters to be temporary, the question for those seeking long-term connections is no longer how to approach someone to sleep with but how to get them to sleep with you more than once? 

Admirers are endlessly disposable as Marc Atkinson's staging for Sugarglass sends actors sliding through revolving glass panels like Tinder profiles being swiped left and right. In between bells at a speed dating night, four characters burst nervously - a rambling salesman (Kelly), a married woman seeking new experiences (Nichola MacEvilly), a tie-wearing suitor with a hidden illness (Manus Halligan) and a waitress (Sophie Jo Wasson) whose new job description isn't exactly clear. 

While Flynn astutely points to how human connections are impaired by modern conveniences, her play feels confused. Shifting from stylised scenes to more intimate encounters, the zingers are too sharp to pierce a convincing reality, and leaps into aggression are too great. Many of the greatest developments aren't well foregrounded. 

The acting also oscillates between overly pronounced and realistic. Kelly strikes the balance well in a turn that babbles but shapes out a masculinity that is lonely and, startlingly, violent. MacEvilly's stylised gestures feel sincere when her character is faced with leaving her husband, disappearing bittersweetly through glass doors. 

In its frantic staging, Five Minutes Later evokes a hyper-connected world full of mirrors and illusions. What isn't well hit home is the complete disconnection it makes us feel.

What did everybody else think?

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