John Patrick Shanley’s 2004 play, Doubt, set in a catholic church in New York in 1964, is a searing investigation into the issues that can surround the potential of child abuse by people in positions of authority. As school principal, Sister Aloysius Beauvior (Julie Quick), hardens her views and approach of the suspect behaviour of her subordinate teacher but Catholic church superior, Father Brendan Flynn (Nigel Tripodi), she is confronted by the usual villains cruelling the pitch of her beliefs – the nice guys who don’t want to get involved (Sister James played by Miriam Keane) and the realities of the family life of the alleged victim (here, the mother of the boy, played by Da Lingo) that more than adequately raises questions of doubt.
Played out against the appalling reality of the institutional handling of such problems and the perpetrators over very many years by (not only) the Catholic Church, audience members are torn between Sister Aloysius’ search for the ‘facts’ and the potential of the comforting spin of Father Flynn, and whether to defend the decency of an extracurricular caring hand or staunchly believe the potential of the vulnerable young can broach no compromise.
Whatever, the St Jude’s Players do an excellent job. Using a stage area divided up into three scene sets, director, Robert McCarthy has got his three main players’ performances spot on with their character depictions, noting particularly the performance of Julie Quick (who was called in at short notice due to illness). Da Lingo’s rebuttal of Sister Aloysius also hits its mark.
As these issues remain (sadly) as fresh today as fifty years ago, with the consequences of dealing with them as varied and as counterproductive only more stark, the St Jude’s Players deliver the punches in an all quality performance that, unlike the film adaptation, keeps you focused on the issues and the people and not the over the top show of the star (in that case Meryl Streep).
Kryztoff Rating 4K
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