The big blue
THE DEEP BLUE SEA Gate Theatre, Dublin Prevs Apr 11-14 Opens Apr 15-May 31 8pm 130/128/125 01-8744045
The Gate’s publicity blurb for its new production boldly proclaims its merits as a supreme example of the “well-made play”, a genre that has been more or less out of critical favour since the death in 1977 of Terence Rattigan, the play’s author. The absurdists – Pinter, Beckett, Ionesco and a host of others – came along to displace pre-plotted structure with a more organic approach to creativity, style displacing form. Well, that’s art, or even show business. But good theatre remains, like gold, where you find it.
Rattigan dominated British theatre for decades, and his plays were supreme examples of style wedded to form in a wholly integrated way. His characters were credible, his command of emotion masterly, and his feel for audience reactions unerring in a string of major plays. It is difficult to realise that this is the first Irish performance of The Deep Blue Sea, and it’s certainly hats off to The Gate for remedying so significant an omission.
Risteárd Cooper and Ingrid Craigie in The Deep Blue Sea, directed by Alan Stanford