by Enda Walsh
Burton Taylor Theatre
first production from the newly-formed Short Sleeve Theatre proved
to be a harrowing experience.
Walsh's Bedbound, which was premiered in 2000, was a challenging
choice of project, and yet one suited to the intimate environment
of the BT.
two nameless characters exist in Bedbound's claustrophobic nightmare
- the father and the daughter. Both inhabit a grubby single bed
in a room hemmed in by white walls.
are crippled: the daughter (Antonia Reed-Felstead) paralysed by
childhood polio and quite literally bedbound, the father (Daniel
Naddafy) ruined by a fanatical thirst for success in the world of
furniture retail that ultimately boils over into psychosis.
unbearably uncomfortable scenario is exposed through a relentless
stream of narrative shared between father and daughter that jumps
abruptly across time, place and subject.
fill in their backgrounds while crude, grotesque masks represent
the other characters, conveying the unreality of everything outside
very little "happens", as such, in this play, its impact
is dependent on the skill of the actors in keeping the audience's
and Reed-Felstead pulled this off with varying degrees of success.
the characters' pain was poignantly and convincingly expressed.
other points, the intended intensity seemed to misfire and the actors
lapsed into rather meaningless stage-school ostentation.
is a hostile, dense and emotionally tiring piece, requiring real
theatrical mettle from the actors if its potentially confusing cut-and-paste
style narrative is to strike home.
the ambition of these actors and co-directors should be applauded,
the demands of the play seemed at times too much for them.