Review: Between Trees and Water

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This tale, based on a 1939 court case, has chilling parallels with ‘modern’ Ireland

South Studios

***

Between Trees and Water is set in 1939, but it cuts chillingly close to the bone in light of the recent Savita Halappanavar case. It is the 75-year-old story of Bridie Kirk, the victim of a fatal illegal abortion in a lodging house in Cork.

Her story is told using witness statements and depositions from the court case, by an ensemble cast of five actors who each play a mix of characters. Notably absent in the portrayal is Bridie.

Tom Lane’s compositions and Sarah Jane Shields’ lighting both superbly set the sorrowful scene, and the performances are remarkably restrained and poised. The production is beautifully choreographed and the horror of her story is seen as much in the invisible presence created, as what’s in front of you.

Ultimately, though, little depth is given to any of the characters, and the play becomes difficult to fully connect with. In its regard for the truth and facts of the case, the drama gets somewhat lost. For an otherwise stunning production, it feels like a missed opportunity.

Until Sept 14th

Originally published in the Irish Times on September 10th 2014.

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