Eva O’Connor’s new play – in Edinburgh as part of the Culture Ireland Showcase – attacks that classic crux of contemporary Irish drama: progress, and society’s resistance towards it. And it attacks it well: Maz and Bricks is a tenderly crafted two-hander about the struggle to repeal the eighth amendment of the Irish constitution, which effectively banned abortion.
A guy and a girl meet on the streets of Dublin. She’s a fierce pro-choice campaigner on a march. He’s apathetic about abortion, but desperate to see his baby daughter. They both have traumatic pasts, but as they hurtle around O’Connell Street, over the Liffy, and through Temple Bar – O’Connor’s script is thoroughly rooted geographically – they bond. There’s a palpable spark between them, and a palpable spark about O’Connor’s writing, which is poetic and prosaic by turns.
Jim Culleton’s production for Fishamble – Ireland’s leading new writing company – is soft and sensitive, drawing two cracking performances from O’Connor herself and from Ciaran O’Brien.
Maz and Bricks isn’t perhaps as structurally sophisticated as it might be – when the two characters are separated in the narrative, it proceeds in pedestrian fashion, monologue chunk after monologue chunk. But it’s got polish, political bite, and poignancy too.