Pity poor Sean. His rigid Irish Catholic family has just barred his English boyfriend from attending his sister’s upcoming nuptials (so as not to offend his more “sensitive”relatives), nevertheless now a moot point as he and partner Tim have recently broken up. Riding a wave of peevish anger and frustration at his treatment, Sean and his irrepressibly energetic, polyamorous roommate Callista devise a strategy to seek out the most inappropriate, indecorous date to bring to the wedding in Tim’s absence, wholly upending the family’s smug conservatism.
And so on to the questionable delights of Tinder and its like. The spirit of the goddess of strife is what drives the plot, and is the source from which scribe John King derives the play’s title. Robbie Taylor Hunt’s boisterous production certainly locates its inspiration in the antic, prickly energy of dispute and discord (perhaps too much so at times, as more than a few moments descend into noisy overkill). Cormac Elliott as Sean is the charming still centre to the backdrop of shifting activity (the supporting members of the ensemble portray multiple roles, much of the time acting as a Greek chorus), and it is within his quiet reflections and poignant interactions with family and erstwhile lover where much of the emotional power of the piece is found.
Four microphones at each end of stage transform into technological conduits-telephone, Skype, Tinder screens, creating a very busy, swirled world of argument and paranoia (that the audience needs to visit the cacophonous, multi-channel catastrophic universe of Tinder talk three times is at least two times too many-we know all we need to know of this chaotic environment after the effective first witness).
Thank God then, for Elliott’s steadiness and sure sense of character, and for Ashling O’Shea’s endless spasms of extroverted, generous energy as Callista to ground the production’s more physically aggressive,exhaustive aspects-they refuse to have their humanity subsumed. For Sean, as the play progresses, it’s less about fighting for recognition and acceptance from his contentious family than it is in cultivating his own peace and comfort. Eris continues through 28 September