As the Beast Sleeps

Gary Mitchell

Tricycle, Kilburn

(2001)

Review by Philip Fisher

There are many good contemporary Irish playwrights. Gary Mitchell has carved out a special niche amongst them, as he is one of the few from the Protestant community who manages to get produced in England.

Last year, his play about the RUC, The Force of Change was a really refreshing view on contemporary Irish problems looked at from this perspective. It is to be made into a TV series and As the Beast Sleeps at the Tricycle is to become a BBC 2 film.

It is to be hoped that before this happens the director takes a serious look at it. It deals with some very serious issues and takes a cross-section through the political end of this community. The set designed by Stuart Marshall is worthy of special mention as it adapts from sitting room to bar to torture chamber with great ease.

We see Alec, the politician who has risen above violence and Larry who aspires to something similar but leads an unofficial army. Then there is a cell led by Kyle, played powerfully by Robert Donovan and including his best mate, Freddie, which has lost its way since peace came to the country. Finally, there are the peripheral characters, Jack who runs a bar to raise funds for the party and his bouncer Norman.

The major issue of how resistance can continue beneath the surface as a political game is played is very interesting. Life had been