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Mesmerizing, compelling “Sidhe” at The Road Theatre Company

Posted By Karen Young On February 23, 2010 @ 12:00 am In Arts & Culture,Featured,spotlight,Theater | 2 Comments

AmyLyons90BY AMY LYONS

Two sets of siblings become entangled in a web of violence and grief in Ann Noble’s new play, “Sidhe” (pronounced “shee”) at The Road Theatre Company. Communication from otherworldly spirits might only be the voices inside a deeply traumatized girl’s mind, but every character is grippingly haunted by something very real, be it guilt, addiction, death, fear or relentless shame. Dripping with tension and harboring ghosts in every narrative closet, the play mesmerizes.

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Ann Noble and Patrick Rieger. Photo by: Matt Kaiser

The story unfolds in Chicago’s south side, where Louise (Ann Noble) owns a dive bar. As she struggles to tend bar, keep the books, serve as one-woman cleanup crew, and play landlady to rotating tenants in a decrepit flat, her sloppy drunk of a brother-in-law, Vernon (Rob Nagle), becomes more and more of a handful. A cop and a sweet guy at heart, Vernon can’t get over the death of his wife, who was murdered in the bar after a botched robbery. Louise suffers her own sickness over her sister’s death, because she left sis alone at the bar the night of the fatal crime. Into this guilt-ridden duo’s lives marches Conall (Patrick Rieger) and Jacquelyn (Jeanne Syquia), on-the-run siblings from Northern Ireland masquerading as husband and wife. Though Louise suspects they’re up to no good, she needs to rent the room above her bar to bolster income, so she essentially takes their cash and asks zero questions. But the more Louise gets to know Jacquelyn, the more she wants to help the seemingly downtrodden waif, who is entirely obsessed with drawing the sidhe, Irish folkloric faeries that haunt the mysterious woman in more ways than one. As Louise becomes increasingly invested in Jacquelyn’s well-being, seeking a do-over for the help she never gave her dead sister, Conall becomes outwardly violent and things get messy. All the while, Louise become attracted to Conall and Vernon takes a shine to Jacquelyn, as the unraveling truth about the two Irish tenants includes a history of bloodshed.

Noble has penned a play that keeps suspense high and stakes higher. The actors all show up with skillful interpretations of the text and formidable emotional range, particularly Syquia, whose character goes from shy and shaken to cold-blooded and callous. Director Darin Anthony stays on top of the complicated relationships, making every word and myriad unspoken communications count. It all adds up to compelling theatre, always an exciting outcome when new plays hit the NoHo scene.

Through Saturday, March 20 at The Road Theatre 5108 Lankershim Boulevard
North Hollywood, CA 91601-3717  Call (866)811-4111

Amy Lyons is a professional freelance journalist and theatre critic, with a degree in Theatre Arts and English from UMass, Boston. She started her journalism career at The Boston Globe and is a member of the Drama Critics Circle. Her articles, theatre reviews and photos regularly appear in numerous publications, including the Beverly Press, Valley Life Magazine, the Santa Monica Mirror and www.nohoartsdistrict.com

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