Theatrical: ‘Walls and windows’ by Rosaleen McDonagh in the Abbey Theatre

However as the run is only for this week – until Saturday (with additional performances live streaming, and on demand until mid September), there was nothing else to be done. Live theatre is on life support since the pandemic, it’s better to make the best of a difficult situation.

Julia and John (John Connors) are a married couple with two sons who live on an overcrowded halting site with John’s mother Nancy (Hilda Fay) who is preparing for the wedding of her daughter Charlene (Hazel Clifford). Charlene is having second thoughts about marital bliss. The story tells the story from the perspective of both Julia and John – a couple who love each other deeply but whose love is tested by how life conspires against them – the council wants to clear their site; the wider community distrusts and discriminates against them without second thought; their families love them dearly but suffocate them. Against this grim backdrop of racism, poverty and discrimination Julia finds herself in homeless hotel accommodation, where further challenges await her – the sleazy hotel manager and the bottle in particular.

It’s not a cheerful play, but it is both interesting and engaging. Particular credit must go to John Connors who gives a mesmerising performance as John – his final monologue raised the hairs on the back of my neck with its rage and hopelessness.

Sarah Morris steps up to the plate impressively in terms of her performance – fully committing to the role, although I wonder what she would have done with the role had she had the opportunity for full rehearsal.

‘Walls and windows’ marks the first time in its 117 year history that the Abbey Theatre has staged a play written by a Traveler (a credit John Connors would have enjoyed had not the Plague denied him the chance to perform his play ‘Ireland’s Call’ in April last year).

Directed by Jason Byrne, ‘Walls and windows’ runs until Saturday for a live audience, after which it can be viewed on demand until September 11th. Recommended.

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