The Last Return

Sonya Kelly
Druid Theatre Company
Traverse Theatre

The Last Return Credit: Ste Murray

Sonya Kelly’s satire of current politics and 400 years of colonialism presented as a situation comedy about a group of people clashing over who gets first dibs on return tickets at a theatre performance gets a lot of laughs from the audience.

It’s the final performance of Oppenheimer’s Return to Hindenburg and each of the characters has an important reason for seeing it.

To the professor (Bosco Hogan) of the Oppenheimer Centre, it might be his last chance to save his job from a workplace restructuring. He has already seen the early section of the show some 31 times but has been forced to leave before the end due to bladder problems. This time he is first in the queue and hasn’t drunk liquids for 24 hours.

The woman in the smart blue suit (Fiona Bell), emanating a touch of Thatcher, says that work colleagues who have seen it get promoted so feels she must do the same.

An American soldier (Fionn Ó Loingsigh) who flies drones has been advised to see it as therapy for his PTSD following his drone killing of a small girl in the Middle East.

The three have discounted the Somalian refugee (Naima Swaleh) in a red headscarf as a competitor because they believe she can't speak English.

The woman (Anna Healy) at the ticket counter insists they have to organise their own queue.

This well-performed piece concentrates on the arguments between the characters, its politically left-leaning plot becoming increasingly surrealist. However, the situation comedy can feel both obvious and a bit laboured, the stereotyped characters a bit caricatured. What would have made an hilarious short, satirical sitcom can feel overlong at ninety minutes.

Reviewer: Keith Mckenna