There were men in the audience! Curious…had they been dragged to the Watergate under false pretences or perhaps as some form of marital penance? If it was, then they were lucky because whatever uncomfortable presumptions were made according to the title was to be rectified as Angela Ryan took to the stage.
Irish audiences have always been able to laugh at themselves; in fact it would be fair to say that it is a distinguishing feature of the globally recognised Irish charm. So what happens when self reflective humour mixes with the delicate subject of divorce, it has not that long since the word divorce was discreetly discussed in whispers? Well you get ‘Angela’ and her array of personalities she encounters on her three-year journey after her husband leaves her for a young Mexican.
Critically, Geraldine Aron’s script is something of a study, the scenario is predictable but this makes the manner in which she whisks words together to reveal humorous and poignant moments all the more evident. There is no illusion as to the narrative, but this works precisely as it enables a company like Jasango to creatively explore different ways of presenting the piece.
The Jasango production is notable in its minimalist staging, all is bare on the stage excluding a small table, chairs, two boxes and three dangling suitcases, (that represent the three passing years). No doubt this is an advantage for a touring show but also goes hand in hand with Jasango’s approach to the production. It leaves the demand for creating situations and environments up to Angela Ryan. The performance was quite an undertaking and an applauded feat; her skill both physically and vocally was on display as she created the multitude of characters. By the second half Ryan was smoothly altering from one character to another with distinct clarity, the shape shifting between patient and doctor, lawyer and client, tour guide and city slicker are a credit to her acting talent. It was memorable the fashion in which Ryan swiftly swivelled from a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown to egocentric teenager daughter and made for an enjoyable feast on the senses.
The music used was highly fitting, and the lighting although in general was minimalist had moments and highlights where there was a change of sequence, perhaps this could have been taken advantage of further.
My Brilliant Divorce was an interesting look at the various dimensions and processes in which a person goes through after an emotional breakdown, it was made entertaining and humorous with thanks to the techniques and skills employed by Jasango, and there would be no discrediting the claim that Angela the actor and Angela the character is some woman for one woman.