Wednesday 18 October 2017

From page to stage same old Ross

Actress Amy Huberman and TV presenter Grainne Seoige arrived for 'The Last Days of the Celtic Tiger'
Actress Amy Huberman and TV presenter Grainne Seoige arrived for 'The Last Days of the Celtic Tiger'
Author and playwright Paul Howard was all smiles

Aidan Coughlan

There was a time when every reader had their own mental picture of what Ross O'Carroll-Kelly was like. As he struts his stuff across the Olympia stage, Ross has become flesh and blood in the form of Rory Nolan, and gone are those days when Ross was a reflection on our own D4 experiences. Now, he is a real man.

But this adjustment to reality is one which he makes quite impressively, as do his family. The accents are the type you'd genuinely hear in Dundrum Town Centre, avoiding those dreadful caricature voices that sound about as genuine as Dick van Dyke's 'cockney' accent in the 'Mary Poppins' movie.

Meanwhile, Paul Howard's fantastic aptitude for dialogue allows the characters to come across on stage as they do on paper, without the benefit of Ross's narration. Basically, it's comfortable and familiar territory for fans of the books. But is it all a bit too familiar? After an impressive start, where the spot-on character portrayal is hard to look past, it becomes clear that we've heard a lot of these jokes before. We've also read almost all of this storyline before.

Though sold under a new title, the play seems little more than a compilation of gags and snippets of stories from older O'Carroll-Kelly writings.

Lacking the narrative continuity required for a two-hour show and sticking instead to the more haphazard format of his novel, it can unfortunately serve only as an indicator that Ross has the potential to move from page to stage.

The execution of Howard's material may be almost perfect at the hands of director Jimmy Fay and his five-strong cast.

But for a production with such a niche market (for instance, are non-readers going to go and see this?), the show just doesn't possess that little something new that was required for Ross's first major outing in the flesh.

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