Citysong

Dylan Coburn Gray
Abbey Theatre and Soho Theatre
Soho Theatre
to

Dylan Coburn Gray's Citysong tells the sentimental story of one Dublin family over three generations on one day, with occasional glimpses of what went before.

It is told by a number of actors speaking in the same poetic style. A baby is “calm like a stormless teacup”, people walk in “the octopus inked streets”, a woman says she “feels like a cored apple… like a snapped ice-cream wafer” and of two characters we are told about “the onset of entropy in their bodies.”

Don’t linger more than an instant on the meaning of the rich language with its occasional sprinkling of mystical philosophy, or you will miss a further tumble of verbal images.

All of which generates a dreamlike mood of unreality. Set your alarm or once you have slipped into a sentence you may never get out.

Even the naturalistic minimal contributions of characters are slightly unreal. Bridget (Clare McKenna) advises her daughter Kate that “when you are married you wear a nightie not pyjamas”, and puzzles her young son Sean by telling him sex is when a man shoots semen into a woman’s egg.

But these are the rare comical moments in a generally wistful mood of reflection on births, death and the ageing process.

The real world, real people never enter into the narrative. There is just the soothing tranquility of a poetic dreamscape, that merely skims the surface of things.

Reviewer: Keith Mckenna