Joyced

Donal O’Kelly

Breda Cashe

Assembly George Square

From 02 August 2012 to 26 August 2012

Rating: ****

Review by Philip Fisher

This is a lovely piece of theatre and, in a city of mediocre solo shows, that is saying a great deal. Donal O’Kelly has borrowed tone and linguistic versatility from his subject James Joyce with remarkable virtuosity.

The script, which looks at the Joyce family and its star turn through the first 22 years of his life, ends in 1904, the years in which he set Ulysses.

The dramatis personae centre on Joyce and his drunken father, though future wife Nora is there as well as Alfred Hunter. That name may be less familiar but shouldn’t be when one learns that he was soon to masquerade on the page as Leopold Bloom.

The characterisation by Katie O’Kelly is impressive but the mood never becomes overly serious.

She is one of those performers with true stage presence and great strength of character, guaranteeing an enjoyable hour or so of biography and more.