BWW Review: CITYSONG, AN ENCHANTING SYMPHONY at The Abbey Theatre
Citysong, an Enchanting Symphony
Upon entering the theatre you are immediately drawn to the mesmerizing set: a stunning mosaic of cut glass intricately fashioned as a massive map of Dublin. The jagged edges are cleverly lit whilst the mirrored surface reflects the audience.
Writer Dylan Coburn Gray, a keen and compassionate observer of human nature, has created in Citysong a touching narrative of a multigenerational family featuring pivotal moments in their lives. In 90 minutes he captures our imagination with dozens of joyous, tender and intimate family interludes.
Citysong resembles a symphony, with every element resonating with the living, breathing, buzzing city of Dublin. Gray's hopeful script, Sarah Bacon's captivating set, Paul Keogan's eye-catching lighting, Adrienne Quartly's entrancing music and the highly accomplished cast combine to produce theatre magic.
The six mercurial actors shift seamlessly between multiple roles, in various Dublin venues with a myriad local accents. Every character is endearing, authentic, human, and familiar. Whilst the set reflects the seated audience, Citysong fondly mirrors the universal circle of life. Growing up, new love, meeting the parents, starting a family, growing old. Love, joy, loss, loneliness. Moving forward, reflecting back. The theatre echoes with appreciative laughter as the audience in turn recognise their own stories.
Clearly aligned with Gray's mission, Director, Caitríona McLaughlin sensitively conducts Citysong at a clipping pace, ensuring the poetic dialogue unfolds with fitting momentum. After a run of heavy themes at the Abbey this year it was a joy to attend an uplifting performance. The cast received a standing ovation before the lights came up for curtain call. By the crucial audience barometer, a formidable opening night!
The Abbey Theatre and Soho Theatre's co-production of Citysong runs from 25 May - 8 June at the Abbey Theatre; 12 June - 6 July at the Soho Theatre, London and 23 - 28 July at the Galway International Arts Festival.