‘Little Cloud’ by James Joyce for Bloomsday

The play opens with Tommy chatting to his colleague as they prepare for the weekend. He tells her about his intentions for the evening. The female colleague did not appear in the short story but is a clever addition to the play allowing Tommy to set the scene and outline his background and history. She is played with great comedic (and subsequently poignant) effect by Dympna Heffernan.

Tommy proceeds to the Shelbourne where we are introduced to Ignatius who is revealed to be a bloviating, boastful loudmouth who regales Tommy with his tales of excess and success in the literary worlds of glamourous foreign locations. In the eight years since they’ve met, Ignatius has lost his hair and aged. He still manages to belittle Tommy with a patronising condescension. Vincent Patrick gives an entertaining performance as a dissolute blowhard. In this middle section Tommy’s character is revealed to be one of disappointment; thwarted ambitions and jealousy of his less talented friend’s alleged success. Stephen Kelly’s is a moving portrayal of a mediocre man, trapped by circumstance, dreaming of more. This section of the play gets to the heart of the narrative, but perhaps could have been reduced slightly in length?

The final section sees a drunk Chandler arrive home to encounter his wife who has been alone all day with their baby. Reality is a cold shower. Geraldine Crowley is a picture of frustration and exhaustion. Tommy may be a dreamer but she’s stuck facing the realities of parenthood. She gives a powerful performance.

‘Little Cloud’ is a strong production with a talented and convincing cast, working  with a good script. The pacing in the main section could have picked up the pace, but it’s a small criticism of a very good production. Recommended.

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