Recently-widowed Enid is forced to sell the house she’s lived in for over fifty years, thanks to debt left by her late husband. Homeless and alone, she watches from her neighbours’ window as the house is bought and promptly left empty by the new owners. With nowhere else to go, the seventy-something pensioner makes a desperate but bold decision.
Thematically, Miramar is an extremely relevant production. Homelessness, ageism, austerity and class are buzzwords that have been a part of our social conscience for many years now. It’s a testament to the Triongl creative team that they’ve done a solid job of balancing those juggling balls in a one-act play.
It’s in the execution of the piece that Miramar falters, though, in my opinion; and, ironically, that’s also because it’s a one-act play. Because of how much the piece is trying to convey, the short running time makes the narrative feel very rushed. Fifteen or twenty more minutes could have given the story more room to breathe, and the themes more time to be explored. Without it they become diluted, leading to an ending sequence that, while brilliant stylistically, fails to provide that much-needed cathartic moment.
Despite those flaws, the play is certainly entertaining, and that is primarily because of the three actors. Valmai Jones as Enid is the anchor of the play, and does a tremendous job. There is an unbridled energy and charisma to her that is channelled into a wonderfully nuanced performance. Rebecca Knowles and Rebecca Smith-Williams are strong in their roles as the new owners’ daughters, but those characters never feel as well-rounded as Enid, often veering into cliché. The three have great chemistry on stage, though, and the funniest scenes of the play take place when all three characters are together.
Miramar is a play that suffers only because it needed more time. The themes being explored, the central narrative and performances are all spot-on, and the potential is there to develop this into something even better. Triongl may not have blown me away with Miramar, but they’ve put themselves on the map as a company with an exciting vision and heaps of potential.