Diane Curley as "Lydia" in Fish Out of Water, is in a word - delightful. A fearless Christian Brandjes as "Tom" and the outstanding Beth Donohue as "Mary" complete the perfectly balanced cast of the Irish Classical Theatre Company World Premiere production.
Set in a rural village in the south east of Ireland not unlike the home of the author, Gillian Grattan, Fish Out of Water is a story of the chaos that ensues when the beautiful, albeit damaged young Lydia moves in next to middle-adged Tom (Christian Brandjes) and his somewhat unpleasant wife Mary (Beth Donohue).
New girl Lydia quickly becomes the object of admiration and curiosity in the small town. Tom's friendship with the attractive younger woman causes tensions to rise and a jealous Mary is eager to fill in the blanks with her own gossip. Secrets are gradually revealed all leading up to an exhilirating turn of events.
The characters created by Gillian Grattan are just wacky enough to be entertaining while remaining believeable. Even though we only meet 3 main characters, we are pulled right into their story and can relate to the other people that inhabit their world.
The intentionally simple set disappears to become just a metaphor allowing the strong performances from the cast to tell the story without relying on props. The music and lighting are well paced and for anyone who has never been to an ICTC production, this shorter performance at roughly 90 minutes would be a great place to start.
Directed by ICTC Producing Director Fortunato Pezzimenti, Fish Out of Water was a first round winner in ICTC's McGuire International Playwriting Competition and a radio version under the title Hooked! was awarded silver at the PPI National Radio Awards 2010. Pezzimenti traveled to Thomastown, County Kilkenny, Ireland, this Fall to meet with the playwright and to visit locations and local residents who inspired the work.
Fish Out of Water continues through Sunday, March 25. Performances will run Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30PM with matinees Saturdays at 3PM and Sundays at 2PM. Visit http://www.irishclassicaltheatre.com/ for more info.