Irish Coffee at Calder Bookshop

‘Fascinating slice of historical drama’: IRISH COFFEE – Calder Bookshop Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Ian FosterLeave a Comment

Calder Bookshop and Theatre, London – until 3 November 2019

Evita tells us that there’s ‘never been a lady loved as much as Eva Perón’ and her totemic status in Argentine life was secured in no small part to her untimely death at just 33. But surely not even she could have predicted, or dared dream of, the place she maintained in the public imagination, a mythology perpetuated by new military leadership that tried to outlaw the Perón name and who disappeared her embalmed corpse.

Eva Halac’s play Irish Coffee, presented here in a translation from the Spanish by Luis Gayol and Daniel Kelly, places itself in the height of that febrile time, as two journalists decide to try and make their name by tracking down Eva’s body. And tapping into that complex history, she uses the real-life figures of Rodolfo Walsh and Tomás Eloy Martínez as her protagonists, emphasising a volatile mixture of fact and fiction and probing at the very notion of truth.

Their investigation focuses on the reclusive Colonel Moori Koenig who, with his wife, has numerous zealously guarded secrets but at a time of considerable political violence, getting close to them is a real challenge. And so having set up these pairings, Halac’s play spends a long time exploring them – the travails of freelance journalistic life and editorial influence, the dangers of being close (or not close enough) to a dictatorship.

After an intriguing beginning, Gayol’s production really sparks into life once the couples are mixed up and the process of sorting fact from fiction kicks into gear once stories start spilling out. In an age of extreme media spin and press scrutiny, it really makes you think about how legacies are created and curated, even at two or three steps removed from reality, entirely dependent on who gets to tell their version of events. A fascinating slice of historical drama.

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Ian Foster
Since 2003, Ian Foster has been writing reviews of plays, sometimes with a critical element, on his blog Ought to Be Clowns, which has been listed as one of the UK's Top Ten Theatre Blogs by Lastminute.com, Vuelio and Superbreak. He averages more than 350+ shows a year. He says: "Call me a reviewer, a critic or a blogger, and you will apparently put someone or other's nose out of joint! So take it or leave it, essentially this is my theatrical diary, recording everything I go to see at the theatre in London and beyond, and venturing a little into the worlds of music and film/TV where theatrical connections can be made."
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Ian Foster on FacebookIan Foster on RssIan Foster on Twitter
Ian Foster
Since 2003, Ian Foster has been writing reviews of plays, sometimes with a critical element, on his blog Ought to Be Clowns, which has been listed as one of the UK's Top Ten Theatre Blogs by Lastminute.com, Vuelio and Superbreak. He averages more than 350+ shows a year. He says: "Call me a reviewer, a critic or a blogger, and you will apparently put someone or other's nose out of joint! So take it or leave it, essentially this is my theatrical diary, recording everything I go to see at the theatre in London and beyond, and venturing a little into the worlds of music and film/TV where theatrical connections can be made."

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