In Eva’s world, time has eclipsed. Her kingdom is ruled by imagination and her ever-changing mood. Waltzing through her mind on a daily basis, control is her vice, and to be forgotten is her greatest fear. Meet David. Her forever child. He’s thirty-six and never left home. Eva treats him like a king one minute, and a worm the next. Trying desperately to win his mother’s approval, he works night and day without complaint. All he wants is to meet a nice lady and start a life of his own. But every bachelorette is scrutinised and sent packing. How can David ever find love under the watchful eye of his mother?
The strongest attribute of Pheromone is undoubtedly its stellar cast, all of whom are excellent. All four actors are extremely skilled, delivering performances that were beyond impressive. In the role of the over-bearing and disturbed Eva is Martina McCormack, who excelled in her portrayal. The character is severely troubled, which is by no means easy to illustrate, but McCormack conveys this very well. It's an extremely demanding role, with Eva only ever leaving the stage momentarily, and this only makes the performance all the more impressive. Eoin O'Sullivan was equally as talented, performing in the role of feeble son David. O'Sullivan really immerses himself in the role, successfully capturing the child-like innocence of the character. This character is rather out of the ordinary, and O'Sullivan's characterisation was intriguing. Beyond the two leads, Tzarini Meyler's portrayal of Ruth is also worthy of commendation. It should be noted that Meyler also wrote the piece, and thus it is clear that she has talent in many areas.
The premise of Pheromone is certainly unique; it seeks to combine the genres of family drama with horror, telling an unsettling story of psychological abuse. Whilst the writing succeeds in making its audience feel uneasy, it did feel that certain scenes were stronger than others. The play is at its strongest at the beginning and end, meaning that it does lose some of its momentum half-way through. There were certain parts where the narrative felt somewhat drawn out, which slowed down the pace. As a result, Pheromone would likely benefit from reducing its length, as this would ensure that the story did not lose steam at any point. Overall though, it's certainly an interesting concept, and one which gives plenty of food for thought.
Thanks for reading!
-The Basic Theatre Reviewer