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Hollow and Dead Eyed Beasts: A Review
Pea Dinneen’s ‘Hollow and Dead Eyed Beasts’ opened at Smock Alley to a full house. It’s always worth noting that Smock Alley is such an amazing space for any production and I always love every opportunity to visit and this was no exception.
The play focusses on three characters: Simon, Cameron and Mel who are living in a house in South Dublin following the death of Charles (Simon’s Father five years earlier) and Jarvis (his dog) more recently.
During the course of the play secrets are revealed (no spoilers so you’;ll have to go along to find out what they are), the nature of existence in the twenty first century is examined and an engaging story unfolds. Like Pea Dinneen’s last play ‘White’ which focussed on fragile masculinity we are taken into the world where much is fragile.
The play is partly about celebrity culture and how it has replaced genuine achievement. Cameron starts every phone conversation with a reference to his fifteen minutes of fame. Without it he is nothing, in his own eyes at least.
it is also partly about death and how each of us struggle in our own way and how it can be very difficult for others to understand the relationship that we may have had with those that are gone.
It is also partly about the love between a man and his dog, and briefly about the love between a woman and her dead boyfriend who now possesses the body of his son’s former pet dog. Confused? Don’t worry. It’ll all make sense.
The play opens when fame for these characters is very much in the past and it looks unlikely that any such future success lingers on the horizon. What ensues is a satirical look at the lives of the three characters and their priorities or lack of priorities as the case may be. However, it is done with great wit and is funny and bizarre from start to finish while always being intriguing. In addition, it is impossible not to warm to the individual characters.
Credit must also go to the production team including director Pea Dinneen, producer Caoimhe McGowan, lighting designer Riain Condon and especially to TJ Lynn who created a great stage for the play and made superb use of all the nooks and crannies available in Smock Alley. For example Simon and Cameron play the guitar and saxophone from the Juliet window at various stages during the play.
Although essentially a comedy and a slightly surreal one at times, there are some serious issues here. The three have lived a drug fuelled existence which has left them unaware of the passing of time and unable to deal with the realities of life.
There are several surreal interludes when the three engage in a Macarena off which certainly entertained the audience on Monday night.
Some People Theatre Company performed Pea Dinneen’s “White’ to sell out crowds during the 2018 Dublin Fringe Festival and with Hollow and Dead Eyed Beasts they are back with a bang. This is an accomplished production with first rate performances from Kevin Cleary, Niamh McGowan and James O’Neill and the full house laughed their way from start to finish which says everything you need to know about the play.
WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY: Pea Dinneen
CAST: Kevin Cleary, Niamh McGowan, James O’Neill
PRODUCED BY: Caoimhe McGowan
LIGHTING DESIGNER : Riain Condon
SET DESIGN: TJ Lynn
STAGE MANAGER : Kate Canavan
GRAPHIC DESIGNER : Kate Brady
Developed at FRINGE LAB with the support of Dublin Fringe Festival