The first shock hit us as the dimmed lights rose and we saw Maureen Beattie’s character standing demurely in front of a table. Silent gasp. What the hell is she wearing? was my first reaction.
The second shock was delivered with the character’s first lines. From then on eyes, ears and mind were were riveted to the unnamed character’s every word and action.
In satisfaction we watched the snippet we had seen rehearsed. Yes, Maureen and her director had pinned it down, by hard work sprinkled with magic had got the words and actions true to the complex character. And they involved the audience.
Other shocks followed, interspersed by laughs as the one needs the other. The unexpectedness of a delivery, the sudden action, the mood change kept minds on a leash during the hour long play. No mean feat for an actor, but Maureen held the capacity audience within the grip of her hand. We could no more dissociate ourselves from the story being played out than the obsessive character could. So we sat, never quite knowing what was going to happen next and feeling when it had that it had surely been inevitable, for so many of our own foibles and emotions were bound up in her. Who hasn’t made lists? Who hasn’t cursed the inquisitively sticky fingers of a friend’s kids? Who hasn’t felt…?
Back to Maureen’s outfit. To me it impinged on the character, irritated like a plook on the cheek. If you have three young kids what you wear tends to be geared to coping with the problems and messes they trail in their wake. If you’re obsessive you surely wear clothes that are neat, tidy, don’t show dirt, wrinkles. You keep as tight a rein on your wardrobe as you do on your kids’ drawings and everything else. So I just felt the outfit was wrong.
But who am I to challenge John Byrne. Go see The List, enjoy it, and decide for yourself.