Fruitcake | Pavillion Theatre
Venue: Pavillion Theatre (on a national tour in conjunction with the Bealtaine Festival)
Written by: Alice Barry
Cast: Mary McEvoy
Review by Lauren O'Toole
From the moment Mary McEvoy appears on stage in Fruitcake her intention is crystal clear - to win the audience over with her buxom, bubbly and affable representation of Della. Heralded on stage by Eileen Barton's 1950 hit "If I knew you were coming, I'd have baked a cake", the predominantly septuagenarian audience were sufficiently pumped up for McEvoy's high energy cookery demonstration-come-confessional.
As she talks us step by step through the perfect assembling of a fruitcake (her technique audibly denounced at times by members of the audience), McEvoy neatly weaves in her character's dark past, stirring in clues and dropping in juicy details, just as smoothly as she adds the ingredients. As Della picks up the packet of flour and carefully considers it, a memory is coaxed from somewhere not far beneath the surface - that of her brother Dennis's affinity with beautiful flowers. Della's distaste for her father, intensely close relationship with her housekeeper, and overprotectiveness of her twin brother are repeatedly hinted at. All this, in addition to her regular allusions to time spent in prison, are delivered, somewhat confusingly in as upbeat a manner as the cake baking - casting Della in a more psychotic light then was necessarily intended. As the cake nears completion so too does Della's story and her shrouded past inches closer to revelation.
Commissioned as part of the Meath Bealtaine Festival in 2010, Barry's play is targeted for those of more advanced years, and while I would argue that both the narrative and McEvoy's delivery of it could do with a greater degree of subtlety, there was no arguing with the warm reception the show received from the audience at large. For anyone looking to reach across the generations this month and embrace the spirit of Bealtaine 2012, this could be an ideal theatre trip for you and your Granny.
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Monday 14th May 2012 | Theatre
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