Dancing In The Dark

Poster: Chaos Theory Theatre

The potential in Niamh Collins' Dancing In The Dark is frankly enormous. As much an exploration of sexuality as an examination of the personalities in and personal responsibilities of intimacy, the Rachel Coffey-directed work-in-progress meticulously crafts three characters we care about and two lively and interesting situations with enough scattered plot strands to lead the audience down several avenues of thematic identification. It's about diversity in every sense - love and acceptance across all boundaries and barricades.

The unexpected union of Orla from Belfast (a vibrant Maryann Maguire) and Jennifer from London (a humane Sarah Melotte) is linked to the fortunes and misfortunes of Jennifer's on-and-off partner Jack (a solid Caelan Stow) in a very thoughtful character piece. While asking if there can be such a thing as a happy open relationship, and if it is always better to reveal rather than conceal, Dancing In The Dark and its appealing 1980s setting endearingly revive memories of long-distance connections in a pre-social media world.

Coffey's direction is strong. The flow and pacing is stable and smooth, ensuring each actor gets ample time to breathe their way into their roles and fully maintain our interest. If the abrupt ending is disappointing and some musical cues aren't the most subtle, the forty-five minute play remains remarkably affecting for something so concise. I am fully convinced that Dancing In The Dark will deliver on its undoubted promise.

Simon Fallaha

Dancing In The Dark, a Chaos Theory Theatre production, runs at Belfast's American Bar until August 1 as part of the Belfast Pride Festival 2019. For tickets click here.