Home » Reviews » Off West End » Luck Penny, Lion and Unicorn Theatre

Luck Penny, Lion and Unicorn Theatre

Aisling Foster

Directed by Cherry Cookson
★★
Pros: Some great accents and beautiful scene change music produced a lovely sounding show.
Cons: The actors were very wobbly on their lines and the show didn’t run straight.
Our verdict: Sadly, an interesting topic based on true events is let down by the lacklustre performance and script that would be better as a novel or article.
Courtesy of Ciaran Cunningham for Giant Olive Theatre
When the Bolsheviks and the Irish were trying to start their own respective revolutions, they sent men over to the United States to try and raise funds. Two parties, one Irish and one Russian, made a deal – Russian jewellery as collateral on a loan. Years later an Irishman is sent across to Moscow to return the jewels and is sent deep into the heart of the Cold War where secret cameras, strictly guided tours and hidden poverty are widespread.
Peter Dineen plays Dr Brendan Regan, the Irishman out of his depth in Moscow. There is a lot of sympathy you could have for Dr Regan, he is clearly a good man with emphatic tendencies but unfortunately Dineen was uncertain on his lines. He did improve for the second half and his one-sided phone conversation was a good example of his ability as an actor but he stumbled over a few too many of his lines for me not to mention it.
Holly Morgan played Irma, a young Russian woman struggling to survive in the harsh city. Her performance was the best of the evening, delicate at points and the audience could really understand why she does what she does.
It is easy to recognise that the playwright Aisling Foster is a journalist and novelist by trade. The script wasn’t quite top notch for a play, missing some of the things that are essential in theatre. For example in a novel it is simple to quite simply write how a character is feeling, whilst in a play the author has to somehow get that across to the audience in a realistic manner. This play seemed to lack that. This, coupled with slightly underwhelming performances, made it difficult to follow the character development and ultimately I didn’t understand Dr Regan’s ‘transformation’ at the end.
Perhaps Foster should consider turning this complex story into a novel, which would offer her the chance to explain a lot more to the reader in written form. Despite the chance the team had to produce a thrilling, Tinker Tailor, Soldier, Spy like piece about subterfuge and politics in Soviet Russia, it failed to impress me I’m afraid.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!


Luck Penny runs at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre until the 8th July. 
Book online at: www.giantolive.com 

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  • Anonymous

    Hi, the play is actually developed from a novel by Aisling Foster: ‘Safe in The Kitchen’ (Penguin Books, 1993)