By Laura Lynott
To be greeted by scenes of slash hooks and metal at the Peacock was not something I’d witnessed before but a delightfully evil scene was about to unfold with What Put The Blood.
Frances Poet’s version of Jean Racine’s Andromaque, saw two brides, Andromaque and Hermione, tied to chairs, daubed in blood and both defiantly explaining just why they shouldn’t be harmed for the murder of their groom.
Sectarian divides play out as one woman speaks for her Catholic family and gang, while the other seems to sturdily defend her name against a religious and masculine invader in her home, Red – the third star of the piece, whom we’ll never meet.
The audience cannot tell if a gang war that’s spilled into the lives of two women, unfolded hundreds of years ago or are we looking toward a dystopian future. And the removal of any concept of time is a notable theme at creating the scene of imprisonment.
Julie Rogers who plays an unyielding figure who will not be intimidated by her masked captors, tells how she’s been raped and mentally abused by Red, the groom who is lying dead on a church floor.
Though we never see Red, the audience learns that the man Hermoine adores and was set to marry, is a figure of hate, who murders Andromaque’s husband and abuses her, forcing her to walk to the church to wed him on the day he’s set to marry Hermoine.
And though a powerful woman, Andromaque gives in to her abuser’s demands to protect her son, Little Hammer.
It should not be forgotten while watching such a performance that to capture an audience and transport them to such a mythical world, is not an easy task for just two actors to deliver – yet something was missing in the essence of the performance.
What Put The Blood was enjoyable but unfortunately it didn’t capture the heart or mind and I didn’t leave the theatre asking questions, as I’d predicted the ending well before the climax.
The next play to grace the Peacock stage at the Abbey Theatre is be A Fire Below, which is running from now until November 18.
This black comedy by Owen McCafferty is set almost 20 years after the Northern Irish peace agreement and the lives of neighbouring couples as they wait for the 11th bonfire to be lit.
For tickets log onto the Abbey Theatre or call the booking office on: 01 87 87 222.