Theatre review: DNA a fascinating and unusual play from Apollo Arts

Eva Devine, Nathan Donaghy and Hannah Reilly in the Apollo Arts production of DNA by Dennis Kelly

Baby Grand

DNA is a fascinating and unusual play. Written by Dennis Kelly and produced by Belfast's Apollo Arts, this is the story of a group of teenagers facing the fact that they have been responsible for the death of one of their colleagues. Not on purpose but by a silly prank, plus bullying tactics. What to do? Ignore it? Own up?

This is the dilemma they face and strangely it brings out each character's character – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Leah, who is fascinated by Phil, sits and talks to him non-stop with no reaction, so she’s surprised when this young man, who seems deaf to her chatter, comes to life, takes charge and masterminds a plan to cover up the death.

He concocts a story complete with an imaginary killer. But the clues are too good and a postman is arrested for murder so they relax and get on with life.

Hoewver, all is not well – in fact, Adam isn’t dead and if they acknowledge this they are in deep trouble. The tragedy draws them together to ask, why allow him to live?

There’s humour in this play, drama and tension. The scenes are short, with pools of light highlighting each one. There are surprising twists and turns and the cast cope with ease – well rehearsed, well tutored and well directed by Pauline Carville.

We are fortunate to have these up-and-coming actors and the audience were enthusiastic in their applause.

Cast: Nathan Donaghy, Eva Devine, Hannah Reilly, James Dougal, Nathan Jones, Caleb Dickie, Chloe Gilmore, Natalie Canavan, Emily Braiden, Caitlin Ferris and Josh Greenaway.

:: DNA runs in the Baby Grand at Belfast's Grand Opera House until Wednesday February 6 with performances at 11am and 1pm. More at

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