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Quietly

Published May 30, 2014

What’s it all about?

As football fans around the globe prepare for the world’s biggest sporting competition next month, it is fitting that the Soho Theatre’s latest offering transports audiences to an Irish pub, where Poland is playing Northern Ireland in a World Cup qualifier.

That isn’t to say this is a play about over-excited sports fans shouting at a television screen, though that sort of behaviour isn’t entirely absent. Quietly is a tense and compelling drama about two men reunited by their violent past. Jimmy is a Catholic, Ian is a Protestant, and they arrange to meet at the same pub that was destroyed – with six men inside – by a bomb in 1974. Ian set off that bomb and Jimmy’s father died because of it. More than three decades on Jimmy wants some answers…

Who’s in it?

Patrick O’Kane gives a gripping performance as Jimmy, whose intimidating exterior shields the vulnerable and broken man inside. Declan Conlon is equally compelling as Ian, his guilt clearly visible as he moves sheepishly around the stage in fear of getting his head kicked in. Completing the three-strong cast is Robert Zawadzki, who mixes awkwardness and despair as barman Robert, the uneasy spectator of their tense and turbulent conversation.

What should I look out for?

The deafening silences that provide a telling indication of the extent to which the audience is caught up in the story.

In a nutshell?

A gripping and tension-packed production that, though quiet in title, speaks volumes about Northern Ireland’s violent past.

What’s being said on Twitter?

@TheJackBowman: Go see #Quietly at @sohotheatre – a brilliantly written and performed piece of theatre.

@petereflynn: @AbbeyTheatre’s #Quietly @sohotheatre is ASTONISHING. Three riveting actors and a finely crafted script.

Will I like it?

If you like theatre that flies by but still makes you think, this short and snappy piece is definitely for you. Cleverly paced by director Jimmy Fay, Quietly is a production worth seeing that, with a running time of just 75 minutes, leaves you plenty of time for discussion over dinner afterwards.

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