Theatre Review: The Blue Boy Of Glenmore – Brassneck Theatre Company
April 28, 2017 Chris Caldwell 0 Comments
In all honesty, I remember reading the description of Brassneck Theatre Company’s ‘The Blue Boy Of Glenmore’ last month and thinking it sounded interesting but by the time I went to see it, at the gorgeous Theatre At The Mill I had forgotten what it was all about, so I went in blind, as they say.
I saw the poster, it looked a bit scary, but then the crowd laughed a little when we first saw a blue man stomp onto the stage. I felt a little confused, but I needn’t have been – this play does a fine tightrope act of balancing between humour and drama, laughter and scares, and I enjoyed every single minute of it.
Set in rural Ireland in 1978 it’s a tale of a brother and sister living together, the brother being the titular character, and let me say he is blue, like smurf blue, but it gets explained in a semi-believable fashion – by science. But I digress, in a way, it’s a coming of age tale about the sister (although she’s 25) but longs for more than the farm can offer her, the brother, however, remains grounded and set in the ways that the farm will provide. The characters themselves are so well formed, and performed, that you’d swear they are real. The story unfolds bit by bit as tensions mount between the siblings as the sister starts stepping out with a local mechanic and the themes of gender equality on the pay scale are broached, as this was a hot topic in 1978.
I really liked the horror elements -although they are few – as it’s something not oft-played to in the theatre, tending more to dramatical elements, but this leads from horror films in a few sections to give you a good jump, a flash of lightning, a shadow in the dark, that sort of thing.
The set design was excellent and gave a sense of the claustrophobia that the sister was obviously feeling whilst making good use of the space and giving the actors the room they needed. The lighting and sound design are also to be commended, everything was crystal clear and bang on time, as it needed to be to really make those horror elements work. The soundtrack too gave a great sense of the time, contrasting the break-the-rules notions and bombastic nature of the likes of the rolling stones playing on the tiny radio with the mundaneness of the farm life that was obviously further perpetuating out main characters desire to break free of the farm.
A great story well told and hats off to all four of our actors as well as everyone involved, ‘The Blue Boy Of Glenmore’ is a triumph of great storytelling, dirty little secrets and a must-see finale that leaves the audience speechless.
You can catch ‘The Blue Boy Of Glenmore’ on tour around the country or at their final dates at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. All the details are here.