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Review: Mint has a subtle revival of 'Katie Roche'

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 25, 2013 at 7:16 pm •  Published: February 25, 2013

Katie's employer, timid spinster Amelia Gregg, is played with spirited delicacy by Margaret Daly. "Won't that be very nice!" she mutters upon hearing news both good and bad. She flutters about delightfully, offering tea and scones whenever things get tense. Which they usually do, fairly quickly. Much of the tension is created by Amelia's brother Stanislaus (Patrick Fitzgerald), who turns up unexpectedly in their small cottage.

Fitzgerald initially projects a pleasant, if repressed and awkward air as Stan, particularly when he bumbles through his implausible marriage proposal to Katie. He blurts out, "I may seem a bit on the old side — I thought of that — but I'm strong. You'd probably age more quickly so there'd be less difference between us in a few years."

As time goes by, Stan is increasingly stiff, uneasy and prone to anger. Fitzgerald wears a sour expression of barely-concealed displeasure, even closing his fists when surprised. Stan's initial decency seems to wane, and his coldness grows, as his control over Katie appears in jeopardy.

Jackson portrays the holy man, Reuben, as near-saintly and a good listener, until he unexpectedly whacks Katie with his huge walking stick for her capricious ways. Even when the reason for his harsh volatility is provided, it certainly doesn't justify his viciousness. David Friedlander offers solid support as Michael's pal, Jo, and John O'Creagh makes a brief, enjoyable appearance as an unexpected, late-life suitor for an astonished Amelia.

Fiana Toibin rounds out the cast as the third Gregg sibling, pompous Margaret Drybone. Toibin overdoes the sanctimonious condescension, but her character's much-voiced disapproval is a strong reminder of all the ways that a vivid young girl like Katie could get boxed in if she made a wrong choice in life.