Alannah Devlin is dressed in the same oppressive shade of pink as her kitchen, hair scraped back into an efficient bun and a toothbrush in hand to clean the already spotless sink. However, when she reaches for her shame cigarettes and inhales half a packet of what she later calls her “sad crisps”, it is clear that something is bubbling below the immaculate surface. When her sister Fianna Devlin crashes in back into her life with her filthy boots, it is only a hint of the mess that is about to ensue.
Set in rural South Armagh in 1989, Meghan Tyler’s black comedy cleverly becomes darker and more farcical in almost equal measure as it progresses, developing into a fever pitch of magical realism by the play’s end. You can never quite tell where the narrative is going to go next, which is down to Tyler’s writing and the excellent performances from Lucianne McEvoy (Alannah) and Lisa Dwyer Hogg (Fianna) who bring endless energy to the stage. From burying their issues under discussions of the closeness of the night, to laying out 11 years of separation and a childhood of trauma, their relationship is one which only sisters could share.
By the final third, Alannah’s immaculate kitchen and living room is a spectacle of gore, the cleaning products long since thrown aside. Though it may be a gin-fueled, graphic destruction of the family home, it is undercut with true horrors.