The Last Hotel
Darkly insistent, Donnacha Dennehy’s score for the Last Hotel pushes and cajoles in equal measure, drawing and forcing an unnamed Woman to her self-inflicted death. The Crash Ensemble ensure that it is a glorious, ominous sound under Andre de Ridder’s baton.
There is a real sense of purpose and precision to Claudia Boyle, as the Woman. She is all poise and decision, while the Husband (Robin Adams) and Wife (Katherine Manley) who she meets in the decrepit hotel that Jamie Vartan’s exploded stage of a set represents, are unkempt and unsure of their actions.
This is hugely theatrical, as might be expected from Enda Walsh. His direction ensures that the non-vocal elements of performance join the music as meta narratives – underscoring and reinforcing what he presents as truth beneath the events played out in the banalities of his libretto.
On the surface, the three have met to assist the Woman’s suicide – for which she is paying handsomely – in a hotel where Mikel Murfi’s ominous, muscular Caretaker holds sway. The hotel has one floor: the fourth floor, and one room: room four.
This is not so much a reflection of contemporary debate about the ethics of assisted suicide, however, more an examination of where a person might be as they take their own life.
And in Boyle’s wonderfully expressive performance: her voice clear and refreshing as it rises in glorious moments of calm lament; her physical portrayal of confidence and regret; and her look of haunted fear, there is no doubting that Walsh and Dennehy have found a dark and lonely place of solitary demise.