As a title, They Never Froze Walt Disney, is a corrective, and an indication also of the dysfunctional nature of the two characters in this slight but endearing play. As a corrective the title states a fact; as an indication it carries much of the plot, for the young-old man dealing with the young-old woman has a pedantic streak which, as a boy, he displays with a helpless charm but which, as a man, he uses with ruthless if bewildered righteousness.
In a necessary contrast, the girl/woman he once almost loved confuses words such as eulogy with elegy as readily as she confuses facts.
Her rebellious streak makes him initially protective and the way in which these conflicting but pot~ntially complementary characteristics harden and distort drives what there is of the action.
Writer Jody O’Neill doesn’t overstate the case, but arranges possibilities w:ith too little regard for likelihood (for example, if the social stigma she indicates is as powerful as it has to be here, how does the much-mentioned subsequent marriage come about?). There are also one or two moments reminiscent of other plays on the theme of young, unspoken and unfulfilled love, including even what might be called a balcony scene. But it is this insouciance which defmes the work, especially as it is carried through by the convincing performances and assured timing ofJohn McCarthy and Jody O’Neill herself.
The poignant innocence of their youthful encounters is given comic counterpoint by the. freezer lowing like a tanker in the kitchen, where home-made cryogenic procedures are attempted. If this suggests a black comedy, the suggestion in inaccurate.
Directed with a light hand by Jack Healy, with sound design by Carl Kennedy, the comedy is assured, beautifully pointed and anything but dark.
Mary Leland, The Irish Times, 10/01/2008