Fly Me To The Moon Production Photo: Brian Thompson
A Frank Sinatra-obsessed old man unexpectedly passes on. His two poorly-paid carers, Loretta (Abigail McGibbon) and Frances (Katie Tumelty) sniff more money and seek to conceal his passing for the sake of financial benefit - only to be forced into repeatedly questioning their own moral judgement.
That's Marie Jones' Fly Me To The Moon for you, a devilishly clever play brought back to Belfast's Grand Opera House this week by Patrick Talbot Productions. Devilishly clever in that, underneath an amiable if sometimes rambling farce punctuated with true belly laughs, there’s enriching substance to chew on – all-too-familiar characters facing discomforting truth in the pursuit of idealism.
The title alone is a dreamy song – and dreams are made to be woken up from as well as enjoyed. That’s a metaphor for Fly Me To The Moon in general, acted to the hilt by original Frances Katie Tumelty, and Abigail McGibbon, in a role originated by Derry Girls' Tara Lynne O'Neill – momentary satisfaction vs. long-term enlightenment. An opening reflecting the struggle to emerge from one's slumber at the very start of the day develops into intriguing and funny theatre at the very scent of capitalism.
Money corrupting, in itself, is nothing new or incisive, but the amusement and insight to be gained from the potentially fruitless, even pointless manner of a quest driven by human weakness gives Fly Me To The Moon an urgent relevance to go with its comedy. We laugh, we learn – and we return to an outside world no less muddled up than the lives of Loretta and Frances.
Fly Me To The Moon runs at The Grand Opera House, Belfast, until Saturday January 26, with two matinee performances and three evening performances, before touring Ireland until Saturday February 23. For more information on the GOH run, click here.