Saturday, July 20

Lie Low – Traverse Theatre

‘Lie Low’ is a theatrical jewel. This is theatre at its best, a production which deals with serious issues but still manages to be hugely entertaining and genuinely funny. If you possibly can, go and see this amazing show. You won’t be disappointed.

‘Lie Low’ is brilliantly written by Irish playwright, Ciara Elizabeth Smyth. The script won the Best Theatre Script award in 2023 from the Writers Guild of Ireland. It’s energetic, funny, profound, imaginative, inventive and deeply moving.

Smyth’s script is superbly directed by Oisín Kearney. The production is perfectly paced and keeps the audience on the edge of its seats throughout the 70 minutes of the show.

Charlotte McCurry plays Faye, a woman in her thirties who has been suffering from nightmares and insomnia following a violent sexual assault a year ago. McCurry’s performance is breathtakingly good. She is totally convincing as Faye. It’s a blisteringly truthful portrayal of a woman suffering from serious mental health issues.

Photo: Ciaran Bagnall

Thomas Finnegan plays Duckman, the creature from Faye’s dreams who leaps out from her wardrobe and terrifies her. But his main role is as Naoise, Faye’s brother. Faye’s not seen him since the night of her attack. Naoise has come to apologise for not being around for her. But we later find out he has other motivations. Finnegan’s performance as a character who turns out to have some alarming skeletons in his cupboard is outstanding. He totally inhabits the character and is non-judgemental, as actors should be but often are not.

McCurry and Finnegan have a wonderful rapport with each other. You forget you’re watching a play and feel like a fly on the wall seeing the sister and brother interact. The exchanges between them when Faye asks for help with ‘exposure therapy’ are riveting and sometimes hilarious. But when Naoise reveals he has a request of his own, things take a much darker turn.

There are some bizarre but highly entertaining song and dance routines between Faye and Duckman. And there’s some very effective stylised movement. Paula O’Reilly deserves plaudits for her dual role responsible for Movement Direction and Intimacy Co-Ordinator. The intimate scene is handled very sensitively.

Set and Lighting Designer Ciaran Bagnall has produced atmospheric lighting and a simple but effective set in which an old wardrobe plays a pivotal role. Sound Designer Denis Clohessy’s often eerie sound effects play an important part particularly in the dream/nightmare scenes. A fight between Faye and Naoise is effectively arranged by Combat Director, Philip Rafferty.

Rory Nolan is excellent in a Voiceover role in which he plays Faye’s doctor.

‘Lie Low’, produced by Prime Cut Productions, premiered at the Dublin Fringe Festival in 2022. It played at the Traverse during last year’s Fringe Festival and returns to Edinburgh as part of a tour following a run earlier this year at London’s Royal Court Theatre. The intimate studio theatre at the Traverse is the ideal venue for this fabulous play.

You won’t see a better show this year.

Reviewer: Tom Scott

Reviewed: 12th June 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.