Week Two Reviews – DV8 Double Bill

Double Bill, DV8 Until Saturday at 7.30pm. Saturday matinee 2.30pm  

Pebbles On A Beach & To The Bone – A Radio Play

A double Bill is where two shorter works play together to ensure an audience has value for their ticket price. There is considerable value to be had in Pebbles on a Beach (15 mins) and To The Bone a Radio play (45 mins) showing nightly in DV8. 

‘To The Bone’ kicks off with a very strong performance by Elton Sebekhona Sibanda of debut playwright Douye Fumuhdoh’s reflective story on life, lessons and missing home. Fumuhod’s home is Nigeria and in Sibanda he found a cultural connection that brought his prose style of writing to life. 

Dressed in white, we meet him at a time in his life where he is of an age with important experiences of his parents and siblings. They are all in different countries now. From the memories, good and bad, he embraces the lessons learned and applies them to his new life in his new home.

There is beautiful imagery throughout. The cultural references are beautifully drawn by writer and actor and it must be ranked as one of the most dramatic and impactful short plays presented in this Festival.

The contrast with David Donovan’s latest offering ‘To The Bone – A Radio Play’ is strong, but harmonious. We are brought to a small rural Irish community where family experiences also drive the narrative. There are a lot of gays in this village as Jess (Heather Lawrie), Jack (Denny Redmond) and Tom (Conor Murray) are at various stages of acceptance in a village they know will reject them. 

No one ever knows what goes on behind closed doors even in an incesgtuous village and ‘To The Bone’ further amplifies that anonymity. Donovan’s writing is like a more modern version of Glenroe – its the third macabre tale on this Festival programme and yet another novel and innovative treatment of subjects too scary to discuss.

The production of this ‘radio play’ is very clever and imaginative. He ensures an ingenious method that requires us to listen to the words. And the words are so animated. Mary (Amy Dunne) and Bob (Eamonn Elliot) round up a team whose vocal imagery, sharp cueing and agility ensured our imaginations were stimulated to such an extent that we too were villagers on site. 

Theo Foley’s sound design was flawless and Donovan’s direction innovative and appropriate for any radio play. We heard every word of this innovative piece of new Irish writing, courtesy of the talented company whose vocal capacity truly impressed. 


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