Reviewer's Rating

Fishamble – The New Play Company kicks off its residency at the The Everyman, Cork with Pat Kinevane’s one man phenomenon Silent.

Written and performed by Pat Kinevane, we are invited into Tino McGoldrig’s tinkering wonderland, named after Latin lover Rudolph Valentino, Tino was once a man with a family, a home, a wife and a child but he has lost it all. Now homeless and mentally unstable Tino is a wayward soul dressed in tracksuit bottoms and tuxedo tails hankering through life on the destitute streets of Dublin City.

The beginning of the performance sees Tino conceal his face from the audience with his ragged blanket and hands in imitation of the persecution his brother faced when walking along the streets of his hometown in Cork. Tino’s brother Pierce, named after the Republican freedom fighter Pádraig, suffered his entire life from homosexual prejudice, encountering abuse and torture at every corner. Silent charts Tino’s battle with the death of his brother and his eventual demise. In eighty minutes Kinevane covers extensive ground in this determined production which perpetuates light on the ever stigmatised issue of mental illness and homosexuality.

When Tino loses his job at the weed killing factory, he decides to stay at home with his son while his wife Judy works. Being at home with his son all day allowed Tino a lot of time to think, alone with only his thoughts and baby talk, the guilt attached to Pierce’s death began to encompass him and he plunged to the bottom of the bottle. Losing his wife and son as a result of his alcoholism, merlot becomes Tino’s only companion.

Silent fuses humour with moments of deep sadness as Tino narrates the story of his life. Distraught by the loss of his brother he re-enacts Pierce’s suicide attempts to a Hollywood-esque backdrop but the clanking sound of copper pennies as they land in his tin cup propels us straight back to the desperate reality of Tino’s life. Punctured with guilt surrounding his brother’s death, devastated by the loss of his family, disheartened by life on the streets and constantly at odds with his nerves, Tino asserts, some things are just too black to bear.

Kinevane provides insight into the inadequate facilities and services this country has to offer the infringed members of society. An absolutely superb piece of theatre, Kinevane’s talent cannot be praised enough, he plays with mime, voiceover and dance throughout this startling monologue. His stunning physicality on stage and mastery of vocal inflection and intonation merge effortlessly to create the effervescent character of Tino McGoldrig. Kinevane does not falter in his character for a moment, he is so comfortable on the stage; his agile performance is naturally fluid and raw. Silent is completely enchanting. Directed by Jim Culleton, the lighting design is illuminating while Denis Clohessy’s soundscape poignantly accompanies the words of Tino’s struggle. Silent is a powerhouse and it is no wonder the audience jumped from their seats to applaud Pat Kinevane’s stunning performance.Silent shows itself worthy of every accolade it has achieved to date.

*The Fishamble residency continues tonight and into the weekend with Pat Kinevane’s second piece Forgotten.