Near Media Co-Op, 3 April 2012
It's the afternoon following the reading of Niall's will, and his common-law
wife Maura (Ursula Blake) has to come to terms with the fact that, after a fifteen-year relationship, the two will
never be together again, and will never experience the pleasure of visiting the local cafe for a coffee and a jam doughnut.
She is joined by her friend Toni (Fran Keogh), who offers mutual support at a very difficult time.
However something is gravely wrong - as yet we don't know what, but we understand
that the information contained in Niall's will has proved particularly shocking for Maura. It is only when Niall's daughter
Julie (Mary McNamara) comes in - ostensibly to express her sympathy for Maura's plight - that we discover what has happened.
Declan Cahill's production examined in stark detail just how brutal families
can be - especially after Niall's death. Maura might have spent much of the last five years nursing him through a particularly
extreme form of Alzheimer's Didease, but she is still regarded as an interloper by the rest of the family. Despite her fundamentally
generous personality, she remains at a disadvantage, having not married Niall in the eyes of the law. Although willing
to think the best of everyone, she is ruthlessly exploited by some of Niall's children, whose sole aim appears to be to satisfy
themselves rather than thinking of the family's future.
The Reading was a stark, often brutal drama set in Dublin, and performed
with passionate intensity by the three-person cast. Highly recommended.