The Celtic Cross at Fairfield Hall is a worthy first outing for the brand-new Wanderweg Productions. The theatre production group is visiting from Seattle for Victoria’s Fringe Festival.
The play is a simplified version of life during The Troubles in Ireland; the interactions between the characters act as a microcosm for the whole conflict in Ireland, in which Protestants fought for Northern Ireland to stay under British rule, and Catholics fought to unite Ireland as its own nation.
Often when someone is trying to do an Irish accent, you get a campy, cartoon variation, a la Lucky Charms mascot. Here, the Irish accent errs on the right side of Lucky Charms. It’s an accent that is hard to get right, but the cast manages to keep it believable, although their use of it faltered from time to time. The playwright has obviously studied Irish colloquialisms, because the placing and use of them are dead on, which helps with the believability and flow of the friendship between the characters. The writer has wisely included definitions for terms used in the show in the program for those unfamiliar with the slang that is thrown out quickly by both characters.
The Celtic Cross could easily lose its first scene, in which the two leads first meet as young boy. They meet again as young adults in the next scene and don’t recognize each other from their previous meeting. The music playing before The Celtic Cross and the music featured within was a nice touch. The use of all Irish artists, rather than random songs, and especially the pre-show use of “Zombie” by The Cranberries was a poignant lead-up to the subject matter of the play.
It would be impossible to stage a play that was fully inclusive of such a complex situation, but The Celtic Cross does an admirable job of showing the costs and similarities of both sides of the conflict.
The Celtic Cross at Victoria Fringe Festival
Fairfield Hall, 1303 Fairfield Road
Tuesday, Aug. 28 @ 9 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 1 @ 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 2 @ Noon
$9/$11 (plus $5 Fringe Visa Button)