mustard fringe 2023

Fishamble: The New Play Company in association with Sunday’s Child and Joanne Hartstone. Holden Street Theatres. 15 Feb 2023


Mustard. Intense word. Intense colour. Intense sensation; transformed into a symbol of relationship loss, confusion, grief, addiction, passion and helplessness in Performer/Writer Eva O’Connor’s play.


O’Connor’s writing is unapologetically tough with light moments of softness. The structure is so strong and taut with a poetry of hardness belying vulnerable depth.


Director Hildegard Ryan’s production offers a stark angular approach in performance, stripped back in every way.


Simple lighting with still spots from Marianne Nightingale allied to a focus on the sharp eye-gripping colour of O’Connor’s costume; a red mustard hoodie and track pants. Not to mention jars of bright yellow mustard.


In language redolent with powerful imagery and emotion offered in gutsy stoicism, O’Connor traces a relationship journey spinning around her religious Mother and strong, wealthy, cool and happening English professional cyclist.


The Irish girl trying to sort herself out. The beautiful English boy who lives in a real castle.

A tricky combination. An obsessive athlete capable of momentary deep tenderness. A girl in awe of it. In thrall to hard physicality, deepness of spirit.

It slowly collapses. Rather, turns to mustard.


Illogical that seems. Emotionally it’s so deeply accurate, this obsessive, psychologically debilitating sense of dissolution of self, security and confidence into mustard.

This journey into a poetic, frightening madness is transfixing in its utterly uncompromising certainty and bull headed destructiveness. Never letting up. Never giving an edge away, even in the clarity of moments something must give.


David O’Brien


When: 14 Feb to 19 Mar

Where: The Arch – Holden Street Theatres