Writer: Stephen Adly Guirgis
Director: Liam Hallahan
Reviewer: Ciara L. Murphy
In Arabia We’d All Be Kings is a three act drama set in New York City in 1999. Set in a dive bar in the city’s infamous ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ Adly Guirgis’ gritty piece chronicles the lives of a group of people who live there. The bar becomes the centre of the play’s action, with the lives of these suspect characters becoming intertwined through their mutual residence in the bar.
Some Yanks Theatre Company’s approach to this production is consistent and well balanced, making for an enjoyable and entertaining foray into the chaos of the time. Despite a few suspect New York accents the play’s authenticity is successfully upheld, aided by the functional and well crafted stage design. The set, designed by Sarah Foley, encapsulates the dismal atmostphere of Adly Guirgis’ text. The audience for this performance are seated in traverse, a decision which makes the most of the theatre’s intimate space. This seating arrangement also allows audience members to interact with each other, privy to the reactions of those on the other side of the action, the overall effect results in a performance that is cosy and striking.
In Arabia We’d All Be Kingsrepresents a variety ofsocietal concerns; poverty, addiction, crime, prostitution, and homelessness all take their turn in being excavated onstage. In order to successfully pull off such a complex performance, with even more complex characters, a solid cast is needed. At times the chemistry between Emma Long, who played the sultry Daisy, and Jason Gilroy, who played Lenny, was just not up to the mark. Despite this the cast delivered a solid and emotive performance which was well received by the audience. For this reviewer the one to watch is actor Síofra O’ Meara. O’ Meara’s delivery of “crack-head” Chickey was precise and authentic. Her depiction of the character’s own personal struggle was understated but very effective.
OverallIn Arabia We’d All Be Kings is an entertaining and enveloping piece.
Photo courtesy of Some Yanks Theatre Company. Runs until July 11th.
Contains strong language.