Hue and Cry
nytheatre.com review by Kimberly Wadsworth
September 21, 2010
In Hue and Cry, Damian (Paul Roe), the family black sheep, has just heard that his father's died, and has come back home to Dublin to pay his respects. But the only person willing to talk to him is his well-off cousin Kevin (Will O'Connell)—who's been asked to convince Damian to leave.
Playwright Dierdre Kinahan excels at the pair's cautious, halting conversation. Damian and Kevin grew up together, so they already know each others' stories; yet they still say enough for us to learn most of their stories ourselves—about Damian's hard luck and struggles with addiction, and Kevin's chafing under high family expectations. Roe also excels at keeping Damian's stories firmly in check from turning into sob stories.
The biggest surprise of all in the piece is—and I promise I'm not making this up—the interpretive dance break. Towards the end, Kevin—a choreographer—shows Damian one of his recent works, a modern dance piece about grief. I was very skeptical when Kevin then suggested Damian join him, but it leads to some fantastic physical comedy as Kevin tries to teach ex-footballer Damian the choreography. The chemistry between Roe and O'Connell lets their characters then use the dance to say a score of things they can't say with words, and the laughing collapse at the very end is especially poignant.
But the play clocks in at only 40 minutes in length, and ends soon after that moment. As impressive as I found the dialogue, and as charmed as I was by the dance, I did still wish that we'd had just a bit more time to learn just a bit more about this pair.