YOKES NIGHT

Fri 5th – Mon 29th August 2016

reviews

Emily Cole

at 10:12 on 10th Aug 2016

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A delightful Irish duo tackle the unique loophole in Irish law that made it legal to take drugs for 24 hours. Portraying a couple who met, danced and took a sinister turn on this fateful evening, the Stay Up Late production is powerful, energetic and hugely entertaining.

The chemistry on stage permeates the room, evoking the excitement and lust of young, new love. This is a play about drug use that is both funny and jarring, revealing the realities of both sides accurately and authentically. Often the play is reminiscent of Danny Boyle’s ‘Trainspotting’, presenting a fast-paced, dark and alluring performance of drugs, sex and love.

In such a small space, the stage is used adventurously, transporting us to various settings and mind frames. The cast is incredibly resourceful - creating scenes both recognizable to those familiar with Dublin, and imaginative enough for those who are not. This, teamed with the subtle Irish comedy makes for a truly compelling journey into the heart of these characters and Dublin.

Scott Lyons, as the hopeful and besotted Harry Finnigan, brings energy and childish naivety to the set, producing an incredibly loveable character. Similarly, Zoe Forrester’s Saoirse is a powerful presence on stage. She rules not only Harry’s heart, but also the audiences’, in a captivatingly beautiful and terrifying performance.

In some areas, the plot twists and pinnacle moments to the play are somewhat anti-climatic, disrupting the fast pace of the rest of the production. This adds a confusing element to the plot line, taking away from the immersive quality of the rest of the piece. Nevertheless, the power of conveyed messages and thoughts overrule these weaknesses. The spoken word is inventive - particularly in an unforgettable scene evocative of a Shakespearean tragedy. Both actors manage to accumulate various influences - subtly presented but notably present - to produce something unique, exhilarating and entrancing.

All elements of this production coincide to produce a truly wonderful, harrowing performance that deserves to dominate the Fringe. As an exciting and powerful piece from some incredibly talented actors, you would be a fool to miss out on this inspiring performance.

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Jessica Baxter

at 21:10 on 10th Aug 2016

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‘Yokes Night’ by Stay Up Late and Bear Trap Theatre follows the hard-hitting, surreal story of the double-edged sword of drugs, trust and freedom. It’s about two young people meeting at a club in Ireland, a fairly normal evening for any twenty-something. Except this is 10th March 2015. And due to a change of Irish law, new rules do not overlap with the old, so ecstasy, ketamine and magic mushrooms are suddenly and excitingly legal.

Harry Finnegan and the mysterious Saoirse, on this monumental night of liberty, fall into a whirlwind of drug-induced love and romance. He is lad-like, funny and crude. She is effervescent and charming, throwing her arms around Harry’s neck and letting him kiss her. They are jumpy and jittery, and the actors launch themselves into ridiculous and fierce dancing during the clubbing scene. This fairly comical atmosphere is broken when Saoirse launches into a heart-stopping monologue that reveals she is a rape victim.

My throat closed up when Zoe Forrester, who plays Saoirse, relates this story of exploitation and violence. Harry and the audience’s emotions bubble into anger and outrage, and, pertinently, we are left feeling furious at Ireland’s abortion laws. The script is beautifully written, extremely colloquial but effortlessly poetic.

Scott Lions and Zoe Forrester are fantastic young actors. Their vivacious, energetic movement animates the space in which they dance, jump and run on the spot. Props such as polystyrene breezeblocks and transparent plastic sheets are used for everything from beds to walls to the sea. The whole thing is very surreal; it is almost like we are looking through their intoxicated, hyperactive eyes.

Elements of Kubrick’s 'A Clockwork Orange' tint the language and themes of the play. Harry Finnegan refers to himself ‘Your Humble Narrator’, for example, and there is a shocking scene where the two young adults wildly and excitedly attack a middle-aged man to ill-fitting, classical music. This works incredibly well against the dreamlike metatheatre.

The plot gets slightly thin, however, when Saoirse reveals yet another secret, this one disrupting the narrative completely and invalidating my previous emotions. The positioning of the characters, too, is not up to scratch. Most of the time, each actor makes compelling eye contact with audience members in the small auditorium, but at key moments of highly charged romance between the two, one head blocks the other for everyone sitting on the left or right of the thrust stage.

Otherwise, this is a thoroughly original and exciting play. I urge anyone who enjoys their morals questioned, and particularly asking the age-old dilemma: do two wrongs make a right?

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