(Peter Crawley's article appeared in the Irish Times, 2/18.)
Christ deliver us!
Christ Deliver Us ! at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin
Early in Thomas Kilroy’s fluid new version of Frank Wedekind’s searing drama of desire and repression, a 15-year-old girl argues with her mother over the appropriate length of her dress. Like the altering hemline of Winnie’s garment, adolescence is full of ups and downs, but Wedekind’s 1890 tragedy recognises that in the wrong circumstances, it follows a more harrowing trajectory.
Transplanting the play to a provincial Kilkenny school in the 1950s, in a country cowed by the Catholic Church, Kilroy paints adolescence with fond but unsentimental detail in distinctly grim circumstances. His title change alone – from Spring Awakening to Christ Deliver Us ! – shifts focus from the bloom of desire to the frost that kills it.
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