Luck Penny, Lion and Unicorn, ✭✭

Set in Moscow, Luck Penny tells of Dr Brendan Regan, an Irishman on a secret mission to return the Russian Crown Jewels. Aisling Foster’s play is “the reality tour,” providing an insight into Stalin’s Soviet regime and highlighting a chasm of political difference (and the surprising similarities) between Russia and Ireland in 1948.

Despite being remarkably old fashioned in both style and form, the premise of Foster’s play (based on a true story) is good. It is simply not done justice here in this, its first incarnation. There appears to be a colossal lack of directorial imagination; the stage manager makes unnecessary appearances between scenes in order to re-jiggle props, for example. Similar unforgivable interruptions include audible faux-Russian and suspicious improvisations in order to cover frequently forgotten lines. Making up for this however, Holly Morgan and Sheila Ruskin give layered and compelling performances as Irma and Audrey, Morgan intelligently revealing the tragic reality of poverty stricken Russia.

Luck Penny has potential but currently feels under rehearsed. Seeing as sound effects are not a substitution for direction and reading lines from a disguised script is not a substitution for learning them, the luck penny makes for a bitter exchange on this occasion.

** (2 stars)
Runs until 15th June
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