Theatre review: Before, Dance Base, Edinburgh

Pontius hasn’t seen his daughter for almost 20 years. He’s never forgotten her, she’s never forgotten him – and today they’ll meet in the centre of Dublin for an emotional reunion

Award-winning writer and actor Pat Kinevanes new play about love and loss packs a hefty punch. Picture: Contributed

Before, Dance Base, Edinburgh * * * *

First, however, he’s got to calm his nerves and select a gift, so he’s come to Clery’s, Dublin’s legendary department store.

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It’s here that we spend an hour with Pontius, played by multiple award-winning writer and actor Pat Kinevane. And, as you would expect from the man who brought the incredible monologues Forgotten, Silent and Underneath to the Fringe, he packs a considerable punch.

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Kinevane’s previous monologues each focused on a different aspect of life: Forgotten was set in a retirement home; Silent looked at homelessness; and Underneath explored those on the fringes of society – all to devastating effect. Now he’s turned his attention to fathers who have been disallowed access to their children, and the impact that has on both parent and child.

It’s a tale of deep love and even deeper loss, whether it’s through death or estrangement. As always, Kinevane drip feeds us one tasty morsel of storytelling at a time, never rushing to a conclusion, constantly surprising us.

So when the denouement finally comes, it hits us from all directions. Truly an hour in the company of a theatrical master craftsman.

Until 25 August