Theater Review: SWANSONG (Skylight Theatre)

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by Joan Alperin on September 11, 2018

in Theater-Los Angeles

AN EXTRAORDINARY PERFORMER
IN A POWERFUL PLAY

Produced by the Australian Theatre Company along with Skylight Theatre, Conor McDermottroe’s one-man play Swansong and André de Vanny’s pile-driving performance will stay with you long after the 65-minute one-act ends.

Meet Austin ‘Occi’ Byrne, the abused illegitimate child of a single mother growing up in the 1960s on the streets of Sligo, Ireland. Occi is a man full of uncontrollable rage that erupts at a moments notice. Having fallen through the cracks, he’s lived his life on the streets and his only real relationship is with a swan named Agnes.

Occi informs us that swans mate for life, but Agnes is alone after two swans fought over her and died. He truly loves Agnes and brings her bread every day. Her beauty and grace in some way gives him strength and may be the reason for his belief that his life can get better. While Occi is a violent man, he is — at the same time — optimistic, humorous and vulnerable. He is a man searching for redemption.

Occi then proceeds to tell us his life story which includes a miserable school life, a disastrous attempt to join the army, and his time in a psychiatric hospital where he connects to a depressed woman named Mary who he thinks might be his salvation. Unfortunately she has a boyfriend.

Mr. de Vanny, an award winning Australian actor, captures every level of Occi’s psyche. Under Melbourne Fringe Co-Founder Greg Caroll’s direction, his body moves on stage like a prize fighter. Physically, vocally, and emotionally, de Vanny will mesmerize you with his outrageous talent and verisimilitude.

photos by Yure Covich

Swansong
Australian Theatre Company and Skylight Theatre Company
Skylight Theatre, 1816 1/2 North Vermont Ave.
Fri and Sat at 8:30; Sun at 2; Mon at 8
ends on October 7, 2018
for tickets, call 866.811.4111
or visit ATC or Skylight

{ 1 comment }

Helen Dee September 11, 2018 at 6:50 pm

I agree. Amazing performance! Riveting, tragic, and with a good dose of innocence, pathos and Irish Humour.
The script is so well-written and this extremely talented actor brings Occi and his story alive!!

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