Fringe 2016: Half Light

Originally presented as a work-in-progress at The Samuel Beckett Theatre, it becomes clear from the first few moments that Half Light, directed by recent Trinity graduate Mollie Molumby has grown up.

Half Light tells the story of Robin, played by the likeable Fionn Foley, a young child who gets sucked into the mystical world of his father’s storybook. Inside this magical world he meets an ensemble of bizarre characters, played by Juliette Crosbie, Martha Grant, Kerill Kelly and Richard Durning, each as charismatic as the next. It’s a remarkably creative yet realistic portrayal of one family’s experience of mental illness.

Ursula McGinn has created a woodland scene straight out of this storybook, making the intimate venue seem infinite. A particularly stunning moment occurs when we are transported into the dark and gloomy night with the perfectly precise use of a fog machine. Her costume, too, complements the tale, with creative attention to detail. Ellen Gorman’s lighting design is playful, her use of shadows adding to the dreamlike feel. Here, it is the music by Fionn Foley, with Richard Durning’s ethereal and artfully concise sound design performed by the absurdly talented cast that is the making of this otherworldly piece. Many try and fail to do what Molumby has done here, which is to create a relatable portrayal of mental health. Half Light doesn’t pretend to have all the answers and because of that it triumphs.

Áine O’Hara

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