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EDINBURGH 2015 - BWW Review: UNDERNEATH, Dance Base, August 16 2015

"Magnificent" is how a friend of mine described Underneath. He added that it is, in his opinion, "what theatre should be". This friend is particularly 'discerning' (picky) when it comes to theatre and rarely raves to that extent. And while we don't always agree on these matters, on this occasion we were in sync.

Pat Kinevane's ninety-minute play, his third as writer and star, is nothing short of captivating. Somewhat improbably, the bald Irishman plays an unnamed Cork woman who has died; he addresses the audience directly throughout, telling the story of his character's life in contemporary Ireland - a life filled with pain and humiliation but also resilience in the face of this hardship.

The narrative jumps around in time as we learn more about her, and it's a credit to Kinevane's skill as writer and performer that one becomes so invested in her so quickly. He also takes the time to get to know a couple of audience members, giving proceedings a wonderfully intimate and spontaneous feel. The effect is truly mesmerising.

Kinevane glides around the stage, using several golden props and set pieces to aid his storytelling, and this physicality alone is worthy of acclaim; when added to a compelling story, told with unmistakably Corkonian wit and charm, Underneath becomes something very special indeed. Or to put it another way, it's magnificent.

Underneath continues at Dance Base until August 30

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From This Author Kevin Sherwin

Kevin Sherwin is originally from Dublin and enjoys watching Grease 2 and theatre-going. His favourite kind of musical is one with a lot of ridiculous (read more...)