Classical actor Greg Hicks stars in this one-man show consisting of five monologues written by Irish playwright Colin Teevan. Hicks’ most recent work includes playing Hamlet during last year’s Tragedies season at the Royal Shakespeare Company. His flair for portraying dark drama and tortured masculinity is the perfect match for Teevan’s engrossing, melancholy tales of anger, loss and desperation.
The stories unravel with the poetic resonance of Greek legend, the themes of myth and fable amplified by Hicks’ lyrical, technically skilful delivery. His performance breathes life into each of the embittered, wretched characters we encounter, eliciting a guilty empathy for even the most unforgivable acts of violence and cowardice. There are welcome moments of humour in all this gloom, and the final tale, the light-hearted “Roykeaneiad”, is full of irony and dark comedy.
At times, the writing slips into sentimentality. The third story, of a man waiting on a beach with a bunch of flowers for a lover who we know will never come, is over-populated with lazy botanical metaphors. There are a few uneasy moments too in scenes where Hicks is required to speak the dialogue of both characters in a heated argument, with the story itself taking a back seat to the performance. However, these are minor points on a show which is consistently well-written, beautifully acted and which, even its darker moments, carries with it a message of hope and redemption.