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29th February 2020

Review: An Intervention (MIFTA)

Scarlett Gorman reviews UMDS’ An Intervention, which was performed at John Thaw Studio as part of the MIFTAs
Review: An Intervention (MIFTA)
Photo: Eleanor Hicks.

An Intervention was a play that I went in to having only a faint idea of what it was about. I sat through the whole thing thoroughly impressed by the feat of both the performances and the direction.

The play is a two-hander, starring Ruby Hines as ‘A’ and Mariella Dyckhoff as ‘B’, and was written by Mike Bartlett.

The story is of two friends, or best friends, whose relationship becomes rocky around the same time as a British intervention into foreign territory. The constant cross references are a start for a great drama in the writing, but the real tension came from the direction and performances.

Sean McGettigan and Eleanor Hicks dealt with the issues that the play presents in a very gentle yet performative manner, which is exactly what a text of this sort needs.

A particular feature which I liked was the use of live music by a three-piece band made up of a flute, a trumpet and a double bass. By highlighting the moments of comical tension which original music, the audience were given some room from what could have become suffocating tension.

I do wish that the band could have been used more yet recognise not only that this could have taken away from the points of heavy drama, but also that this piece only had a three-week rehearsal period. To create a performance of this standard in that amount of time is an extremely impressive feat, and everyone involved should be very proud of themselves.

Both Hines and Dyckhoff were incredibly moving and showed each of their overflowing talent in the way that they held themselves throughout the approximately 90-minute performance.

Dyckhoff’s reserved and calculated character ‘B’ was performed with a brashness that left me feeling as though ‘B’ was having problems with me, not just her on stage companion. This became particularly impactful in the third act of the play, when the stakes are raised to the highest they could possibly be – and I applaud Dyckhoff’s ability to play a character who is calm on the outside but so clearly boiling up on the outside.

The stand-out performance, not only of the night, but of the drama society’s past year of plays, came from Ruby Hines. From the moment ‘A’ started on stage, the audience were hooked onto Hines’ every word. She managed to deliver to the audience a person, and a friend, rather than a character, and left everyone watching her in complete awe of her performance and her pacing.

In the funny moments, she had impeccable comic timing, and in the rest of the play, she knew exactly how to create tension with the smallest of movements and the most minute eyebrow raise.

This is, of course, a testament to McGettigan’s and Hicks’ direction, and everyone involved in An Intervention should be incredibly proud of themselves.

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