Star of the Sea by Moonfish Theatre is an adaptation of the eponymous Joseph O’Connor novel currently on a nationwide tour. From the outset there are moments of captivating stagecraft, from yardbrushes mimicking the sound of the sea to handwritten transitions and translations projected onto oversized scraps of manuscripts and ledgers. The narrative jumps in time, but the ensemble cast easily bring the audience with them to each time period through performances encompassing the relentless energy of childhood to the injured weariness of the characters as they age. Each cast member plays various roles and often the actors disappear altogether, completely inhabiting each distinct character in gesture, voice and posture. Particular mention must be given to Zita Monahan for this.
There is fault in the somewhat anachronistic costume chosen for some characters (the reporter in particular) and the narrative energy flags badly in parts, with no real sense of dramatic build-up and a tonal even keel that could have done with some humourous diversions. I’d imagine the cast will find that tonal variety as the play continues its run and the cast’s cohesion increases. The production is in Irish and English, and is completely accessible to non-Irish speakers (like me!) thanks to the clever use of projected translations.
Star of the Sea tour dates:
An Taibhdhearc, Galway 16–19 Sept
Draíocht, Blanchardstown 24–26 Sept
The Linenhall, Castlebar 1 Oct
Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny 3 Oct
GB Shaw Theatre, Carlow 7 Oct
Riverbank, Newbridge 9–10 Oct
Siamsa Tíre, Tralee 14 Oct
The Source, Thurles 17 Oct
Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo 21 Oct
Solstice, Navan 24 Oct