by Maeve Ryan
Citysong contemplates the timeless cycle of life by following three generations of a family on one important day. Writer Dylan Coburn Gray calls this lyrical piece a ‘play for voices’ and indeed the script began its life as spoken word. It won the Verity Bargate Award, which brought it from Ireland’s national theatre, the Abbey, to London. Both inner city theatres are perfect settings for this evocation of life and family narrated by a cab driver in a rain-soaked, streetlamp-lit Dublin.
Joe and Steph are two lonely Londoners, and Cara and Dylan are dealing with grief in Dublin. The four young people, in two pairs of intertwined stories, disclose their anxieties and struggles in narrative monologues that are strong examples of moving storytelling. But they are only loosely linked thematically, and there is little that conveys a wider reason for placing these characters within the same work. The stories command attention as do the performances, but the question of why they are presented together never disappears.