Twenty-one missing arses missed what is possibly the best play I’ve seen this calendar year. The Baby Grand holds a hundred people, all seventy-nine attending stood for two curtain calls at the end of the show.
Rawfield Theatre Company meets GBL and director Martin McSharry, with too many credits to mention, has brought writer Pearse Elliot’s scream against for or nor the rise and demise of the Celtic Tiger putting the ordinary into the extraordinary. Cast: A mild mannered farmer and butcher bullied by a mad man psychopathic killer with a childhood hold over the subservient labourer of the land, add a blind-folded, cabled-tied blonde and the script writes itself. But only Elliot or his kin from the border counties could have written such dialect, received with delight by an enthusiastic Belfast audience
Russians, boob jobs, four month marriages, cold rooms, eye-ball-sex, back crack and sack, mad cow disease, Stockholm Syndrome, serotonin, a man too nifty with cutting blades, a blinded date that would leave Cilla Black with nightmares all play their part. The whole stage is used and abused, and in such a small venue the audience is not watching, we’re participating. This is theatre at its finest. Shared reality, literally. From the front to the back you can watch every trip of the lip and every blink of the eyes, take a pupil off for a second and you’ll miss a vital shrug or smirk, jerk or joke…
Apologies, I nearly forgot about the players. The only actor south of the border is the hostage Saoirse, played with a sixth sense by actor Claire Connor, watched by many in productions from As You Like It to Cinderalla and Give My Head Peace. Gorgeous, desperate with enough tenacity to befriend and elevate our main man: enter Val, aka Vincent Haggerty whose roles are again to many to mention. His character, a strikingly tall gangly submissive against the bookies’ chalkboard odds. At times he delivers monologues as our narrator, the human of the play, and quite possibly the soul of the play. Lastly and ‘French Connection UK me it’s not butter’ is the madman nutter Stoat or as he’s first introduced ‘The Number One Man’ is Paddy Jenkins of Hunger fame, Pulling Moves, I Fought The Law, and again Give My Head Peace, gives the play no peace at all. His introductions, flawlessly scripted bring humour, rage and an intimidating Napoleon complex that frightens the hell out of both the characters… this man may be the nicest person one could meet on the street, but on the hallowed boards this beast needs a leash; every word, sentence, quip feels like a threat against the skin.
Set, design, direction, acting, writing, venue, you’ll not hear a bad word about this play from anyone with any appreciation of all of the above.
For booking information contact the Grand Opera House here or phone on 02890 241919
5 out of 5 Nerds