Silent at the Soho
Up many flights of stairs in the dingy loft of Soho Theatre, Pat Kinevane is currently offering a masterclass in drama that is likely to challenge your opinion on what makes good theatre. Main character Tino McGoldrig is charming, charismatic, witty and shrewd, yet he has a dark sensibility that preys upon his vivaciousness. This is the result of his brother’s suicide, who was scorned all his life for being homosexual and was never helped, despite many attempts on his own life. Subsequently, McGoldrig sheds his sanity until he is a homeless drunkard on the streets of Dublin, banished from the sight of his wife and son forever.
This tragedy is translated through the dark and calamitous livelihood of silent movie star – and McGoldrig’s namesake – Rudolph Valentino. Kinevane is spectacularly on point and fabulously stimulating as he reenacts the scenes of his brother’s suicide attempts. His precision, energy and charm reveal the incredible aptitude he has for theatre, as he moves with such control, sliding easily between characters and synchronising himself so accurately with the sound effects and voiceovers.
All this, in typical theatrical garb, perfectly contrasts with Kinevane’s otherwise colloquial, informal style between sketches. The audience participation that sets the tone in the early stages of the show is slightly unnerving. It’s something like a stand-up comedy show, where the floor is given over mostly to the audience – weak and unconfident – and that’s without mentioning the shattering of the fictional illusion caused by breaking down the fourth wall. However, Kinevane’s intelligence, wit and dramatic brilliance actually manage to make all this work in his favour. During the especially dark and chokingly tragic moments, the impulse to get up and comfort him is almost overwhelming; during the more humorous moments, one is inclined to laugh, because he has established this intimate connection with the audience. By mixing the colloquial with the poignant, Kinevane has turned theatre on its head. He has created something so original and standalone that he has made himself incomparable to anyone else in theatre today – an unexpected triumph.
Silent is on at Soho Theatre from 7th July until 25th July 2015, for further information or to book visit here.