Half Moon Theatre
Reviewed 23 June 2012
by Sadhbh Keating,Amaka Attoh,Kim Molloy,Eimear Deery
Record by Dylan Tighe is an extremely difficult performance to critique as it is an autobiographical, emotional play about Tighe’s struggle with bipolar disorder. Also, we must note that we saw only the second preview and the production may change, and grow.
The setting is, for the most part, drab. The pre-set is very intimate; it feels like Tighe’s personal space. Guitars, a drum set, a large writing desk and a leather chair all dressed in dark colours reflect the melancholic mood of the show.
Tighe uses music from his debut album Record, his own medical records, and multimedia to portray the concept of mental illness. Tighe takes on the role of himself which provides authenticity and real raw human emotion. This also highlights the isolating and internalised nature of this disease. Keeping with the intimate nature of the performance, the supporting cast of musicians and actors is very small. Aofie Duffin takes on the role of Tighe’s nurse and love interest but, unfortunately, her performance lacks credibility. A more positive point of Duffin’s performance is her singing voice. Her hauntingly beautiful voice captures the turmoil of emotions her acting didn’t. Daniel Reardon takes on the role of the austere doctor and gives a satisfactory performance. Despite the small cast of supporting actors and their inability to effectively portray the story, powerful messages still come through, one being that medication may not always be effective to treat mental illness.
Elements such as Tighe’s own music also reinforced these messages and provided clarity to some of the more obscure images. Custom-made films about Tighe’s life and his ideas show his confusion and loneliness when in a depressed state, which gives the show a sense of reality. Tighe must be commended for this fearless production as he puts everything on the table.
Although the production deals with dark matters, humour and live music give it an uplift. We recommend it, although during parts of the show fantasy and reality collide, leading to confusion and ambiguity. This mirrors Tighe’s state of mind at the particular point in his life, and leaves the audience with much to contemplate.