The Water Orchard at Project Arts Centre

The play imagines a world where water is produced in orchards.  The plot is played out in two parts, the first is a comic country house mystery on a run-down water orchard concerning the whereabouts of the elderly mother of the family that own the orchard, the second is a discussion between the parts of the fragmenting mind of the mother as she lays dying alone from some sort of aneurysm.

Unfortunately, although there are a great many good ideas in the play and on stage they are fired at the audience as from a sawed-off shotgun, the gold and the dross both. For example, the water orchard could be an ordinary vineyard without any loss to the play, the endless jokes about the son’s hook hand were tiresome, and the puppetry was prolonged and felt gratuitous.

However, the dialogue between the fragments of the mother’s mind was excellent as was the supporting AV, reflecting her consciousness.

The overall design of the piece was captivating. The set was solid, and simple, yet effectively evoked the feel of a decrepit country house very well, while the costume complimented the piece well. The technical aspects pulled the piece together in an immersive way, bringing the audience closer to the world on stage.

Quinn and Colley’s direction was well executed, especially during the fight scenes, and while the cast gave generally good performances – with Breffni Holahan as particularly strong – at times they struggled with weak dialog and motivation. Noel seemed to be impersonating Queenie from Blackadder II and the Detective could not decide if he was Columbo, Clouseau or clueless.

Overall a good effort but less would have been so much more.

by Síofra Nic Liam

Writer / Director – Eoghan Quinn
CoDirector – Dan Colley
Dramaturg – Jack Gleeson
Lighting Designer – Sinead Wallace
Set Designer – Sarah Bacon
AV Designer – Jack Phelan
Sound design & Music – Kevin Gleeson & Cameron Macauley
Producer – Kate Ferris
Producer – Matt Smyth
Cast – Peter Corboy, John Doran, Rachel Gleeson, Breffni Holahan
Presented By Collapsing Horse and Project Arts Centre

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