Little Thing, Big Thing
Donal O’Kelly’s two-hander about a thief and a nun on the run in Ireland is part comedy, part serious drama, part political thriller and, like most Irish literature, part love letter to Ireland.
When gunfire necessitates a hasty escape, the nun, paying a nostalgic visit to a former convent, finds herself sharing a clapped-out van with the thief, who was stealing a statue. Finding themselvses on the road, and low on petrol, it transpires that the nun is in possession of a roll of film capable of incriminating the baddies.
Ably directed by Jim Culleton, O’Kelly and Sorcha Fox play the mismatched pair as they repeatedly surprise each other and themselves with their courage and ingenuity, and their softer qualities as well. There’s plenty of Odd Couple comedy and passing jokes – one particularly sweet moment sees them hiding out near a pond, where each recalls a separate youthful romantic tryst at that spot. But they also bluff their way past police cordons, siphon petrol from a tractor, race around Dublin and courageously stand up to the baddies before an ending that is both shockingly dark and tinged with some hopeful irony.
O’Kelly and Fox also play everyone else in the large cast of characters, and one of the production’s pleasures is watching the confidence, authority and ease with which they smoothly navigate the instantaneous changes in roles.