The Bush Theatre's final production in the space they've occupied for the last 40 years is Deirdre Kinahan's Moment, which as far as I can tell has come over with most of the cast and creatives from its original 2009 production in Dublin. A family gets together for tea one evening that appears to be like any other but isn't: Sisters Niamh (Maeve Fitzgerald) and Ciara (Kate Nic Chonaonaigh) live quite near their mother Teresa's (Deirdre Donnelly) house as they like to keep an eye on their increasingly mentally frail mother. But their brother Nial (Ronan Leahy) murdered someone in his teens, and following his time in prison has started a new life away from Dublin, so him visiting is pretty rare. Over the years, at Teresa's insistence, they've stopped mentioning Nial's past but a chance remark at tea makes all the buried resentments come back up.
In a snappy production by David Horan, Kinahan's play is often very funny, especially in the first act before the moment when everything changes (one of two the title could be referring to.) The whole cast are very good but in the central role of Niamh Fitzgerald is the standout, both in the intial comedy where her deadpanning often steals the show and in her anguish as she has to finally tell her brother how his life wasn't the only one affected by his actions. Will Joseph Irvine as her sweet, out-of-his-depth boyfriend provides an outsider to ease the audience into this complex family while Rebecca O'Mara as Nial's new wife is the catalyst for the action.
Kinahan's theme is of the forgotten "victims" of crime, the families of the perpetrator. While the victim's families get sympathy and the criminal gets attempts at rehabilitation, they have their own lives shaken up and may have to deal with guilt over whether they could have changed things. Niamh's is an interesting viewpoint to put at the centre of the story and Kinahan does so in the context of an entertaining but recognisable setup. A strong end to the Bush's time as a pub theatre; let's hope their move to new premises goes more smoothly than the Arcola's.
Moment by Deirdre Kinahan is booking until the 26th of March at the Bush Theatre.