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Image for The New Electric Ballroom @ Griffin Theatre

The New Electric Ballroom @Griffin Theatre

Think of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, throw in a couple of buckets of fish, a pink coffee cake, three very peculiar ladies, an obsession with an encounter in an electric ballroom and just for the hell of it lets also have someone pee on the floor… now does this make good theatre?

This would have to have been one of the more challenging productions to be viewed in a long time. Kate Gaul is known to push the envelope and make her audience think outside the box. Keep in mind the production of The Fox, a children’s fable that featured opera singers, incredible puppetry and some of the most visually amazing costumes and sets and this was for a children’s story. So you can understand that you will be taken on a journey that will challenge to say the least with a Kate Gaul production.

Breda (Odile Le Clezio), Clara (Genevieve Mooy) and Ada (Jane Phegan) are three housebound sisters who haven’t moved on from the past. Both Breda and Clara constantly relive an encounter many, many years ago and haven’t really lived a life since, but Ada is a little younger and a little more lively than the other two spinsters.

Kate Gaul has directed a production that really does push the envelope and at times can seem a little confusing and difficult to understand the overall plot of the production but she has done a damn good job scraping together a clever production out of a very poorly developed stage play.

Enda Walsh is written a very odd stage play that leaves a lot of questions unanswered. The first and foremost why can’t the sisters leave the house? The second what on earth was going on in the first scene and why did Clara think she was a midget and her obsessions with this coffee cake. Enough said really without giving away too much of the story. But I think Enda may need to rework the story so it makes sense to the audience, maybe it is just me and I missed it altogether!

Tom Bannerman has created a set that is reminiscent of 1960s Ireland. A little bit stark and depressing, but also dated and faded that fits into the context of the three very strange house bound sisters.

Apart from a difficult to follow story the acting is fabulous. Odile Le Clezio (of Young Einstein fame) is flawless as Irish sister Breda. Genevieve Mooy is quite funny and endearing and the coffee cake obsessed Clara and Jane Phegan is haunting as slightly withdrawn Ada.

Kate Gaul is a fabulous director and has created a very interesting production out of a haphazard story. The cast have done an amazing job in their roles and are flawless.

If you want to see something that is a bit of a challenge with great cast and crew go see The New Electric Ballroom at Griffin Theatre. Find details here.

Follow Matt D’Silva on Twitter @MattDSilva

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