Theatre review: Ring Road (4 stars)

Sense and infertility in Anita Vettesse's new comedy drama for PPP

Ring Road

Actor/ writer Anita Vettesse's second play as writer for A Play, A Pie and A Pint is about desperation and affirmation. It seethes with things unsaid, and skilfully dissects how men and women often wilfully muddy the path of communication.

Prissy Lisa (Angela Darcy) is a teacher who is unable to have a child with infertile husband Paul (who is only ever heard in voiceover on gruff phone messages played by Robbie Jack) and so who turns to rough plumber Mark, also her brother-in-law (Martin Donaghy) in order to get herself pregnant.

Lisa, pragmatic to the last at 40, only sees the limited window for her fertility, and sets in motion a seduction plan in a hotel room, business deal in all but name. It is here that the negotiations backfire, as Mark confesses feelings for her, in a neat reversal of classic rom-com tropes. He wants to be seduced by her, to 'savour' the moment.

Treading a line between bedroom comedy (Darcy's sex face and Donaghy's underwear provide huge laughs) and heartbreaking moments of pathos, the superb duo, directed with heart and filthy comic timing by Johnny McKnight,play first with each other, and then each other's emotions, as the story unspools in the most unexpected and messy ways.

Vettesse's wise, ultimately beautiful script burns with the taciturn yearning for something to complete our lives, asking larger questions of gender roles, and of what it is that really fulfills people. The road is long, but there are many pot holes and junctions along the way.

Ring Road

Childless Lisa is turning 40, heading towards a crisis and bored with people judging her for not having kids. She lures her brother-in-law to a hotel in the middle of a ring road in order to do something about it.


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