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Loane play has laughs as well as moral conundrum

Look who’s coming to supper

By Claire Tennyson

THEATRE visits are not a regular occurrence for my fiancé and I as he usually has a date with Sky Sports, so I was pleasantly surprised when he agreed to go last week. Our choice was ‘The Civilisation Game’ at the Lyric Theatre, directed by South Belfast’s very own Tim Loane.

Having spoken to Tim in recent weeks, I was well aware of the inspiration behind the plot of the play so I was looking forward to what would unfold.

Throughout the course of the evening the trials and tribulations of marriage were covered and it was about 15 minutes in when I started to think maybe it wasn’t the best idea bringing along my new fiancé.

The play features a young couple, Guy and Roisin, who have moved into a new home in a leafy sought-after suburban area only to find themselves being burgled by young tearaway Robbie from the nearby Housing Executive estate. Fearing that if they turn him over to the police he will only get a slap on the wrist, the couple deal with him themselves.

They are soon joined by next-door neighbours Peter and Amanda and as the foursome try to agree on the most appropriate punishment for the “little shit” they learn valuable lessons about their own relationships.

As the play continues it evolves into a humorous yet thought-provoking look at a difficult scenario.

The story posed some interesting moral questions, particularly as to whether the burglar was entirely to blame for his criminal acts and who in the end is the real victim of the piece.

The five-star cast, including Ali Ford and Alan McKee, all brought their own individual humour and sensitivity to their characters. However the real fascination for me was the role of the burglar as played by Ryan McParland. His timing and delivery of the comic lines brought gales of laughter to the auditorium, however within a split second he had the audience in the palm of his hand as he told harrowing tales of his miserable upbringing. In what is his debut in the Lyric Theatre, the Mullaghbawn man has certainly proved himself a rising star in the acting world.

All in all, Tim Loane has done an admirable job with ‘The Civilisation Game’ and it is certainly worth a visit over the coming weeks.

The play runs until May 26.

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