Review: Silent – The Peacock Theatre

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Frances Winston feels that this is one play which deserves its standing ovation

Back by popular demand for yet another run in the Peacock, Pat Kinevane’s one-man show continues to astonish audiences. No doubt buoyed by amazing reviews, this month-long run is sure to engage even more people in the world of the protagonist Tino McGoldrig.

Homeless and in the way (his words) Tino is a literal wino – he only drinks Merlot though – who has been living on the streets since his wife threw him out, and he has had no contact with his son since he was an infant. His life has been marred by tragedy, which included the suicide of his gay brother Pearse (named after 1916 freedom fighter Padraig). Unable to cope with the various trials, his mental health has deteriorated, and he tells his story in the style of his mother’s favourite romantic hero Rudolph Valentino.

Kinevane is simply amazing and truly engages the audience. Interaction with the attendees also ensures that while the story stays the same, the show changes slightly every night. With the minimum of props, including a blanket, a wine bottle and a series of cue cards like the ones they used in silent movies, Kinevane owns the stage and displays an amazing physicality, which he uses to its fullest. The story is both moving and funny with a wonderful script that sees Pat literally become his mother, ex-wife, and various other characters that have touched his life. He is also blessed with a hugely expressive and malleable face, which changes dramatically depending on who he is talking about.

The story of Pearse dominates the tale, as it appears that his brother’s sexuality and fate very much shaped his life. Pearse was the beautiful one, and Tino talks about him wistfully as he describes people’s reaction to him. A moment where one of Pearse’s former lovers (unaware of his fate) encounters him sleeping on the street is truly poignant.

There’s a reason this show is award-winning, and it is one of the first plays I’ve seen in a long time that I would say is truly deserving of it’s standing ovation. An absolute must-see, this will haunt you for along time after you leave the theatre.

The Peacock Theatre, Abbey Street, Dublin 1

8pm nightly until December 7th. Tickets €25. Concession €18

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