Before by Pat Kinevan

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I went to see Pat Kinevan’s new play, Before, last weekend at the Ramor Theatre, Virginia. Once again he was brilliant, and so was the play. The central theme was a father who is refused access to his daughter but the play also touches on rural isolation, the modern image of men, and the growing superficiality of love – all that achieved by one man. It is extraordinary.
Pat Kinevan’s one man performances are always startling. I have blogged about him before, back in 2014. His writing is deft. He dovetails everyday banter with such dramatic pitch, tone and expression. One minute he is having the craic with the audience and the next minute he fills the stage with shadow, light and pain, all through his voice and body movement, with maybe a hat for a prop. He fills the theatre with presence, sound and shape.
I also love how Pat seeds his work. In Before he scatters Hollywood dreams of love and romance by referencing the musicals we all grew up with (love ‘em or hate ‘em, you know them). Then, with the story of Pontius (yes, named after Pontius Pilote), he shines a light on the real misery and loneliness of life. He is the master of contrast. He plants, waters and suddenly you see a glaring issue blossoming. In Before, as I mentioned, it is ‘father’s rights’. In other plays, it has been homelessness, mental heath and suicide.
I think Pat is only brilliant. Truly. I used to love musicals as a child, so I enjoyed the references he tossed about the stage. However, as I mentioned to him in the bar afterwards, I didn’t catch any reference to Mary Poppins whom some of you may know is my role model in life. He confessed that he hadn’t made one. Horrified, with appropriate Mary Poppins style and manner,I suggested that he rectify this, after all, you may remember, she is practically perfect in every way. He smiled, kissed me on both cheeks and thanked me effusively, delighted with the idea. So when you catch the play, which you must, listen out for Mary.

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