Thursday 8 December 2016

Review: Post-Troubles horrors talk to new audience

Theatre: Monsters, Dinosaurs, Ghosts, Peacock Theatre, Dublin

Katy Hayes

Published 12/06/2015 | 02:30

Monsters, Dinosaurs, Ghosts showing at The Abbey
Monsters, Dinosaurs, Ghosts showing at The Abbey

Jimmy McAleavey's new play has a brilliant character at its core. Nig is a retired member of the IRA: post-ceasefire, and post-traumatic stress disordered, he is wracked with guilt and haunted by the people he killed.

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This part is beautifully played by Lalor Roddy, who is both hilarious and touching, and conveys in his traumatised intensities the horror of a feeling man, who cannot come to terms with his actions as an IRA volunteer.

The plot involves a former colleague Wee Joe luring Nig into a Real IRA operation, and another former colleague Tommy persuading him to be a double agent for the Provisionals, who haven't fully gone away, you know.

They spend the play creating a huge bomb, and organising its transport to a leisure centre used by the police. There is no subtext, everything is discussed; awkward and unbelievable phone calls between Nig and Tommy create insoluble staging challenges.

David Pearse and Steve Blount, two of the Irish stage's finest comic actors, are strangely miscast in the roles of Wee Joe and Tommy, parts that require steel and ruthlessness.

Ryan McParland as L does a great rap song, and brings the energy of the next generation to the cause and to the stage in a strong performance that effectively combines petulance and bravura.

The shifts in Nig's character from humour to moments of high trauma work perfectly. But such delicate tonal shifts are not so well managed by director Caitríona McLaughlin in the structure of the play as a whole. The ending is a confused melodramatic spiral.

Afterwards, it is the character of Nig that lingers; Roddy and McAleavey have embodied a complex and moving voice from the post-Troubles landscape.

It is a pity this important character didn't find himself in a better play.

Irish Independent

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