First Written for The Reviews Hub

HashtagRelationshipGoalz – Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin

Director: Emma Jane Purcell

HashtagRelationshipGoalz begins with a young couple sat on chairs in the centre of the stage. The only props they use are the two chairs, a patterned blanket and a small table. He has his arm slung over her shoulders while playing on an ipad. She is obviously bored. So is he. They bicker and laugh and try to figure out how to spend the night. Cinema, restaurant, pub or back to their parents’ house? It is clear that they love being together although they argue near constantly. There are brief monologues when the actors are alone on stage, turn to the audience and we hear their inner thoughts and frustrations. Our young couple begin the show together, will they end it the same way?

Actors Costello (who also writes) and Sean Doyle have been cropping up in productions in the Dublin theatre scene for several years now. Both bringing their experience and wit to this new production. Interestingly Costello also has credits to her name as a writer and director and we are bound to be seeing much more of her talent in the coming years. Alongside Costello and Doyle the cast is rounded out by the assured Laura O’Leary as the interfering, teenage sister who barges into her older sister’s life with her frequent disasters and embarrassing questions.

HashtagRelationshipGoalz is presented by Squad Theatre Company as a part of Smock Alley Theatre’s Scene and Heard Festival, which gives new writers a chance to see their work on stage. Running at only 30 minutes long it is a playful, realistic and touching portrait of three young people trying to find their way in the world with each other. It is very pleasant to find a play of such quality at the Festival and it will hopefully be resurrected at some point in the near future.

Runs until 24 February 2017 | Image: Contributed

Review Overview

The Reviews Hub Score: 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