Underneath @ Dundee Rep

The final play in Pat Kinevane's trilogy, Underneath is an unmissable spectacle

Live Review by Mirren Wilson | 18 Jun 2019
  • Underneath @ Dundee Rep

After touring the world with much critical success, including a Scotsman Fringe First Award in 2015, Underneath returned to Scotland as the third part of the Pat Kinevane Trilogy. Produced by Irish company Fishamble, this trilogy not only celebrates new writing but celebrates the work of performer and writer Pat Kinevane with his two other plays, Forgotten and Silent.

Underneath reflects on a woman's troubled life after being hit by lightning at a young age. We hear the story from beneath the surface of the ground, from the point of view of death, to explore the subtext and struggles of her journey. It’s a lament to the outsider that questions societal standards of beauty, acceptance and strength whilst maintaining emotional depth and rich comedy.

Olivier-award winning Pat Kinevane is without a doubt one of the most thrilling and captivating performers of the modern time. He is unapologetic in his style, charismatic and chatty with the audience and sensual in his movement. His delivery of the text is fast-paced and natural; yet he often surprises the audience with unexpected emphasis and colourful intonations. The piece also includes indulgent outbursts of deep-rooted chanting, adding a worldly and grounded element to this heightened experience.

Kinevane cleverly plays with light and dark in the space, heightening your sensory and other-worldly experience as you search the unknown darkened stage, catching glimpses of the performer or some scattered, symbolic gold props. There’s something glamorously earthy about this piece, from the shimmering feature drape to the nods to Egyptian queens. Director of this production and artistic director of Fishamble Jim Culleton has fine-tuned this piece to create a tight-paced atmospheric world, where nothing is unusual and nothing is out of place.

This one-man triumph of a show is similar to entering a void where time freezes in another dimension. Jumping between reflections on past scenes to the present situation in death, where foxes scramble in the grave next door, the script is a powerful whirlwind through the intensity, hilarity and pain of life – it’s an unmissable spectacle.