Marjorie Brennan reviews How It Is (Part 1) for the Irish Examiner

Lovett is movingly affecting in his role as the nameless character/creature mired in mud, metaphorical or physical, we are not sure. He invokes the opaque prose like some kind of twisted prayer; chanting, stuttering and recanting. The fractured words are at some points portentous, at others strangely soothing.

Dillane effortlessly finds the rhythm in Beckett’s work, at times almost singing the text, and seems to be enjoying himself immensely. Where Lovett appears to turn inward in his torment, imbuing his performance with a sense of heartbreaking humanity, Dillane preens with mischief and humour, in an utterly compelling performance.

Mel Mercier’s stunning soundscape brings this production to a whole other level while the lighting and visuals, by Hegarty Lovett and Kris Stone, prises it from the visceral mud to a space that is spectral, almost spiritual.

While Beckett is often seen as impenetrable and difficult, there is so much in this work that is strangely comfortable and familiar. There are many rewards to be found in it if you abandon the compulsion to make sense of it all, and just let it wash over you.

At the end, by whatever strange alchemy is wrought I feel enervated and alive rather than consumed by existential angst. A tale of the unexpected.

Read the full review in the Irish Examiner.

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Posted by:Rhys Tranter

Rhys Tranter is a writer and photographer based in Cardiff, Wales, UK. His work has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, The Spectator, and a number of books and periodicals. He holds a BA, MA, and a PhD in English Literature. His website RhysTranter.com is a personal journal offering commentary and analysis across literature, film, music, and the arts.

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