Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, Scene and Heard Festival 2017.


Writer and Performer: Romana Testasecca

Director: Karen Killeen

Movement Coordinators: Stephanie Dufresne

Producer: Palma Testasecca

Sound Designer: Garret Hynes


SYRIUS begins with Rasha, played by Testasecca, running in circles around the stage. We can hear her heavy breathing; there is no respite. She is wearing purple and green. As a young woman in Syria she is taking part in a peaceful protest with other women. They decided to wear wedding dresses as they reflect happiness and are as positive and nonthreatening as can be. Standing with her placard, white writing on a red background, Rasha has a wedding veil covering her face. She seems anxious and confused. Scared maybe. A speaker plays out a Syrian protest call. It isn’t long before she is imprisoned by the Assad regime. In a letter to her father she expresses her surprise at being incarcerated for standing on a street with a placard. Surely that is a totalitarian action? Finding the Syria she knew and loved is no longer Rasha tells her father she can no longer stay in the country. She hopes that the rest of her family can join her soon. She expresses the difficulty, fear and poverty of refugee camps and detention centres through her body: shoulders stooped, a constant weariness. However her tent turns into a boat sail and after seven countries and an ocean she finds herself in Portlaoise, Ireland. Here she spins with happiness arms open and free. Rasha has hope again.
Sound is used effectively throughout the performance. Her dance moves, sometimes like marching and stomping, sound out her emotions. The use of lighting, sound and movement is very strong. It is a very physical form of storytelling. If this production is developed on further it would be interesting to see how Rasha fares in her new home.


One person plays are particularly hard to pull off and Testasecca does this with aplomb. This is an excellent production telling the story of how and why a young girl would feel she has to leave her native country and family for a foreign land. If you are wary of ‘non – traditional’ theatre this might be the ideal show to see as the narrative and storytelling are so strong.


Presented by Rosebuds Theatre Company, who were last seen in All Washed Up at The New Theatre, SYRIUS runs at under 30 minutes as a part of the Scene and Heard Festival 2017.
Catch it while you can.


Runs Until 26th February 2017.
Key word: Magical
Rating 4.5*

All Washed Up

First Written for The Reviews Hub


Creators: Rosebuds Theatre Company

Creative Director: Lorna Costello

Reviewer: Laura Marriott

‘Home is not always where it is supposed to be’.

All Washed Up has opened for its debut at Dublin’s The New Theatre. The staging has been fully utilised. A bed sits on one side, a table and chest of drawers opposite. At the back a book case and basic kitchen set. This is where the barriers between rooms and people have fallen down and are all ‘washed up’ together in this small room. We learn early on that Alice, played by Romana Testasecca, likes to paint in her free time like her mother did. This art is not for the world though, only for herself. Once a piece of art, something beautiful, has been created, should it be preserved, or put aside to be held onto as a pure happy memory?

As the play begins it soon becomes clear that Alice and Fionn, played by Jamie Sykes, share the small flat and the bed. With her rather explosive entrance Kate, played by Karen Killeen, goes from judging the slightly unusual set up to becoming a part of it. Fionn offered her a place to stay because she was lost with nowhere else to go. This seems to be the case for all three of them. The promotional material includes this quote: “anyway, I only ended up here because I’d lost myself. Lost my context. I woke up one day and realised it was missing. Or hell, maybe I got rid of it myself. Flushed it down the toilet in a mad frenzy”. The trio use each other to hide from the rest of the world, each running away in some manner from either a memory or a person.

This is Rosebuds Theatre Company’s first production, having been recently founded by the three actors. They work well together and successfully show the closeness and claustrophobia that can be held between three people. Similarly they bounce off each other, playing games and bursting into childhood before the secrets and differences between them crack through the surface; suggesting that their lives together in this cocoon cannot be permanent. Over the course of an hour the audience see the three come together like a jigsaw before splintering apart, ready to face the world alone.

This is a very strong and commanding debut from Rosebuds Theatre Company that illustrates the best of the city’s new writing.

Runs until 5 November 5 | Image: contributed.  

Review Overview

The Reviews Hub Score: 4*

Key Word: Impressive