Taking part in The Palace of Ice are, from left, Ellie Warren, Chris Rickards, Ian Watterson, John Webb and Steph Warren. Picture by Peter Boam.
STAGE REVIEWS MIX mid-life marital crisis with the powerful imagery of a Gaelic folk tale and you have Glenn Koppany’s first full-length play — hopefully not his last, either.
Koppany takes the male lead and Linda O’Connor that of his wife, irritating each other in the ways long unhappily marrieds can.
But, dig deeper into the play and you unearth nature and nurture that lead to their behaviour and the couple drifting apart. Then there’s the habit, and the need, for them to be together.
There are emotional counterpoints mirrored in the folk tale, which takes centre stage at moments throughout the drama.
Koppany was intrigued by the notion that folk tales reflect unconscious anxiety when he penned The Palace of Ice.
He was inspired to write it by the creativity of the writing group at Ventnor Community Cafe and was part of Bonchurch Theatre Company’s decision to stage it before small audiences in the intimate setting of Brading Roman Villa.
There, you are in Jack and Anna’s front room, not barriered from it by a stage.
You are not within an ice palace or winging your way across ocean as a bird-boy. Imagination is called for to achieve that, which is why the play should be ideal for radio, where mental image is all. But that is not to say it did not work visually.
It was co-directed by Koppany and John Goodwin and did perform on all levels, aided by its direction and all the players.
Clive Rickards liltingly fiddled and Chris Rickards was a horrid mother, beaten only in stage nastiness by Ian Watterson, who was indeed the father from hell.
The folksy side was led by Steph Warren, as the Cailleach. John Webb was Dule and Ellie Warren was Bridighe.
They all contributed to a fine, if not wholly uplifting, show.