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The Approach is a play that coaxes the audience in with its intimacy and yet, simultaneously, reveals a set of relationships which are as true as they are isolated. The play, a product of Irish playwright Mark O’Rowe is performed by Landmark Productions and features Cathy Belton, Derbhle Crotty and Aisling O’Sullivan. The drama and great tragedy within the performance lies in the complex relationships of the three women as they quietly divulge pieces of themselves to each other.

The staging is dark and centrally lit showing the women meeting, allowing the audience to be immediately drawn into their world. The sudden closeness that one experiences with them is naturalised as the audience are entrusted into their exclusive conversations, witness to their traumas and heartbreak. Beyond a raised stage, wooden chairs are hung up in disarray. The setting at once brings attention to the women’s relationships and deconstructs them as multi-faceted, unstable edifices.

The performances of each of the three women find their power in the subtleties of their interactions; often it seems, it is that which is unsaid where genuine feeling can be found. It is an unobtrusive production, despite this, it is a deeply emotional one. The women lay bare their vulnerabilities and are shown to be isolated even within the relationships that they construct around them. It is perception which determines what is true in their interactions; each of the women respond differently to each-other. The performance is thought-provoking in its ability to show how identity is created in interactions with others.

It is a play of intense juxtapositions, of silence and anger, façade and vulnerability, distance and communion. Intensely thoughtful, the piece presents itself as an expression of relationships and human identity. It is impossible to come away from it without reflecting on the barriers, physical and mental, that can hinder real human interaction. Assembly Hall until 26 August 2018.

Tickets here.