The Peacock production this summer of American writer Charles Mee’s Big Love is one of the theatrical frothy joys of theatre and it is in no way stuffy as its Greek origins might suggest. Based loosely on one of the oldest surviving plays by Aeschylus, it is the story of 50 younf women who are given in marriage to 50 cousins. The women rebel and flee to Italy and their subsequent story is told by three of the women versus three men who helicopter in in a clever updating of the Greek look at love, gender wars, the plight of refugees and human need.
Despite a few long, too long speeches for the chattering issues classes, this is a romp with lots of physical fun, dances, singing and fights to the bloody death, all packaged and directed by Sheila Cartmell.
Seeing ex-Fair City star, Ciara O’Callaghan, step out of a wedding dress and stand bare-naked and beautiful is just one of the delicious pleasures in this romcom. She plays the romantic Lydia with Judith Roddy (who was in Jim Nolan’s Sky Road) in flighty form as the hardened anti-male, Thyona, who sees a knife as the woman’s hope to penteration and protection aagainst same. Kelly Gough as Olympia is as ditzy as necessary and adds much to the fun.
Aonghus Og McNally is excellent as the gentle and romantic Nikos, so unlike his brothers in warrior-dom. Barbara Brennan as Bella, a judge and parent, is wily and wonderful and she puts the work in excellent context. Marion O’Dwyer and Rory Nolan add much mirth and fun and Jon Bausor’s set and costume design is as glorious as the tracks and techniques of Paul Keoghan’s lighting.