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Can’t Forget About You

Can't Forget About You, Tron Theatre, Glasgow Can't Forget About You, Tron Theatre, Glasgow. Photo: Steffan Hill

Despite a weak second act, and an overly sentimental finale, David Ireland’s script reinvents the familiar tale of love across generations through a witty look at a Belfast Protestant family. Rather than star-crossed lovers faced by the sectarian divide, however, this romance is troubled by the attitude of Stevie’s family to his beloved’s older age.

The production’s strengths lie in the excellent ensemble performances. In particular, Karen Dunbar – playing the “older woman” –  is as striking during the emotional scenes as the comic ones, while Abigail McGibbon and Carol Moore lend sympathy and depth to the bigoted and judgemental mother and daughter.

While the structure is predictable – true love wins – and the moments of comic drama are heavily signposted, it is the family conflict that both drives the plot and reveals Ireland’s ability to capture naturalistic dialogue and sketch out the hidden matriarchal power in the Ulster home.

The build-up to Stevie and Martha’s affair in the first act is rendered with charm and brevity, and Dunbar’s charisma makes Stevie’s attraction to her understandable. Sadly, her attraction to Declan Rodgers’ Stevie is less obvious, as he rapidly becomes childish in the face of his family and is only forced to grow up after much maternal meddling.

The conventional, yet solid, direction echoes the safety of Ireland’s writing and emphasises the narrative thrust and comedy over the emotional drama.

Can’t Forget About You offers little original insight, and drags in the later scenes, but is a bawdy, witty and brilliantly performed light entertainment.

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Verdict
Sentimental May to December romance
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