Elysion Productions describe their debut play Dev’s Army as “A rich, dark comedy in the grand Irish tradition – instantly recognisable characters and oozing charm”
The scene is the Irish coast in 1940 and three members of the local security force tell stories, indulge in self delusion and allow old their old rivalries to surface. As a one act, hour long play with a cast of only four, it’s a testament to all involved that I was gripped from beginning to end.
A shipwrecked stranger puts forward the contraversial idea of whether Ireland should form an allegiance with Germany against England, and the play explores the subtleties of Irish allegiances through the local defence volunteers and a body on the beach.
Grizzled props are used to demonstrate the power of the coastal weather, and characters move from playful joking to violence.
Dev’s Army shows how legends and tales of rebellion allow old prejudices to fester and urges that efforts be made to put the past away. The dialogue is equal parts witty, moving and sardonic, and the characterisation pitch perfect.
The play was shortlisted twice in 2010 for the Oxford Playhouse New Writing Competition and was also a winner at the Galway Theatre Festival New Writing Competition, hopefully these will be the first of many more awards to come.
You can check out their Elysion Productions’ website here.