The Match Box

Frank McGuinness
Strange Fish Theatre Company
Omnibus Theatre

The Match Box is a tale of grief and revenge. It is told by Angela Marray as the character Sal during an intense one hundred and thirty-five minute performance.

The play opens to Sal's isolation in Ireland, where few seem to mix with her and she finds herself talking to lambs.

She explains to us the sequence of events that led to her leaving London for this remote place. Every so often, she lights a safety match, holding it out before her, showing how quickly the flame goes out.

As an unmarried teenager years before, she had given birth to Mary, a child the unnamed father did not want to know. Getting various jobs, she raised the child lovingly with the support of her own parents till one terrible day when the twelve-year-old Mary, returning from school, is killed by a bullet in the crossfire of some gang feud.

To everyone's surprise, at a press conference about the event, Sal offers forgiveness to those who killed her daughter, but leaves unsaid the darker, more lethal purpose she has in mind. She goes to sleep and dreams of fire.

Although the performance holds our attention with the fine, fluent acting of Angela Marray, there is little dramatic tension in the play or any exploration of social issues. We know what’s coming and are not given much reason to care too deeply how things will turn out.

Reviewer: Keith Mckenna