This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub.
In Roscommon a young woman (Sharon Mannion) frets over all the usual childhood issues, such as the end of the world and what she wants to be when she grows up. The latter perplexes her until one day she picks up a tin whistle and a musical prodigy is born. Or at least that’s how is seems as she suddenly finds herself the star attraction of the family and bringing in the big bucks while caroling at Christmas. One day Sharon finds her father transfixed by a tune, ‘The Kerry Polka’ being played by the ever smiling Sharon Shannon on a strange and wondrous instrument: the button accordion. Young Sharon, spurred on by a shared name and a wink from Shannon, plagues her parents until they present her with her very own accordion. Her musical ability progresses until she enters a local competition where things take a turn and her relationship with Frank, the accordion, begins to sour. A litany of maladies ensues until Sharon can’t take it any longer. Either she or the accordion needs to go.
For 30 minutes Mannion enthralls and engrosses the audience in what is a faultless performance. She bounces chronologically through her childhood and into her early adult years, regaling with stories of awkward incidents and genuine bucolic charm. Her energetic performance is hilarious throughout, at times resulting in difficulty hearing her speak due to the riotous laughter from the audience. In a show that draws heavily on her own experiences it is unsurprising that The Curse of the Button Accordion is full of humour, warmth, and heart.
The Curse of the Button Accordion runs as part of the Scene + Heard festival at Smock Alley and is presented by Speckintime. This 30 minute show is performed as part of a duo, with both shows running back to back over 60 minutes.
Writer: Sharon Mannion
Director: Matthew Ralli
Runs until February 24th 2016 @ Smock Alley, Dublin.
Image: courtesy of Speckintime.