Written and Directed by: Marie Jones
Presented by: GBL and Talbot Productions
Reviewed by: Ciara Murphy
It is difficult to achieve a high level of comedy and entertainment when also critiquing serious social issues. Written and directed by Marie Jones, Fly Me to the Moon manages to balance humour and cultural comment during its highly entertaining performance at the Civic Theatre Tallaght.
This play is Jones’ first foray into directing and as she states in her programme note this play is not “out to preach but to entertain.” Telling the story of two bolschy careworkers; Francis Shields (Kate Tumelty) and Loretta Mackey (Tara Lynne O’ Neill), Fly Me to the Moon, revives the notion among its audience that it is okay to laugh at what is tragic.
It is just a normal day for Francis and Loretta as they both head to their first call of the day. However, soon a sequence of events kicks off the action of this play and this is then accelerated by the tragic death of their charge, ‘Davy’. The interesting thing is, Davy hasn’t collected his pension yet, and with financial needs of their own, the two women conspire to make a bad decision that will result in hilarious and increasingly dangerous circumstances.
This performance is highly energetic and both Tumelty and O’Neill deliver a razor sharp performance that is brimming with good humour, sarcasm and superb comic timing. The contrast between the two women is genius. Francis’ shrewdness perfectly compliments Loretta’s innocence. Tumelty and O’Neill are the perfect comic duo, never letting their energy wane.
The set is simple, but very effective. Designed along with the costume and lighting by Niall Rea, the clean and cosy environment serves to give a personality to the unseen character of the play, the omnipotent presence of Davy. Everything about the environment that Rea creates seems genuine and although the two women are in the middle of an unbelievable circumstance, there is never any doubt that this really could happen.
The issues that this piece raises are current, relevant and saddening, yet Jones’ script and good direction transform the tragic to comic and this device truly enables this performance to make an impact without being heavy.
There are very few low points in this performance with the only critique being that at times it can feel a little over-acted, perhaps the fiery Northern spirit gets slightly lost in translation during this Dublin performance. These moments are infrequent and the skill and the timing exhibited during the remainder of the piece more than makes up for it.
It is clear that the audience enjoy every minute of this piece with the constant stream of laughter constantly accompanying the piece. At the end the audience have truly connected with the two women and also Davy. His story is told through their story and through the sliver of his world that is represented onstage.
Highly entertaining and also hard-hitting. A perfect balance.