Theatre Review: Jezebel in the Project Arts Centre
IT was Robin that suggested the threesome. Besides, she had started to run out of ideas when it came to pleasing her boyfriend in the bedroom. Or behind the couch. Alan could have said no, but they'd already agreed the rules.
One person dreams up the scenario, the other does his/her best to make it happen. And that's how Rough Magic's Jezebel begins; it's a fairly simple story involving that of a young-ish, career-orientated couple who, in an effort to reignite some much-needed passion and excitement into their relationship, end up in the most peculiar of sexual circumstances. Along the way, there are tennis balls (I don't want to know, either) and injured knees.
But back to the threesome. Because that's what Jezebel is really about -- an artist of the same name whose bad luck with men somehow leads her to the attention of Alan (Peter Daly) and Robin (Niamh McCann). They all meet in a nightclub; one thing leads to another -- you know how it goes. You might even brush aside the fact that an entire play involving just Valerie O'Connor's beautifully nutty title character might have made for a more interesting affair. Once the sex is out of the way, however, the real problems start.
Mark Cantan's punchy script delivers on its sitcom-like developments, with characters frequently slipping into witty storyteller mode (Alan's brief statistics lecture is worth the admission price alone). But despite a phenomenal effort by its exuberant cast, Jezebel is, unfortunately, let down by its own ambition. It builds and builds and becomes increasingly complicated. Everything gets louder. And then, just as you begin to wonder how Cantan might sign off on his madcap observation of one-night stands and modern families, you realise that, well, he was probably asking himself the same question.
Alas, the ending feels like something of a cop-out, as our energetic trio tie up every loose end in a matter of minutes. Still, Daly and McCann pull something special out of the bag (not least when it comes to looking for their third player in that nightclub), with O'Connor over-egging the drama in a turn that, though a little too animated at times, is as captivating as it is hilarious. Indeed, Jezebel's final destination may disappoint, but at least the journey is entertaining.
Running until December 22