Tuesday 24 April 2018

Review: Bailed Out! - Chronicle of Ireland's fall into an economic 'doom loop' is a must-see

Bailed Out! - Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire

Ali White in ‘Bailed Out!’
Ali White in ‘Bailed Out!’

Katy Hayes

This latest instalment of Colin Murphy's chronicle of our financial downfall is a must-see.

The English have their Shakespearean history plays, whereas we have this grubbier and more democratic account of our downfalls, from a dramatist-journalist who has the knack of spotting the narrative potential in public events.

Following on from his earlier effort 'Guaranteed!', this series from Fishamble: The New Play Company, with its related public discussions and subsequent film/TV adaptation, has injected a new and vital ingredient into the Irish theatre landscape.

The action kicks off after the banking guarantee in 2008 and traces Ireland's sorry fall into an economic 'doom loop', the resulting bailout by the IMF and ECB and consequent loss of the country's economic sovereignty.

Director Conall Morrison cleverly marshals a classy cast. Denis Conway as Taoiseach Brian Cowen singing of The Lakes of Pontchartrain is a highlight, and Peter Daly's fantastic Michael Noonan is not so much an impersonation as a rendition.

Scripts in hand, the work is simply staged. The noisy Dáil debates are perfectly done, as is the final disastrous cabinet reshuffle by the doomed Cowen government.

Admirably unsentimental about terminally ill Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, the coolness of Peter Hanly's representation feels just right in his portrayal.

Jean-Claude Trichet, head of the European Central Bank, is the villain of the piece, as he holds out steadfastly against any proposed bonfire of the bondholders.

Does Murphy let the politicians off too lightly? The meticulously journalistic tone of the representation tends to humanise rather than demonise.

It's finally up to the audience to decide.

Irish Independent

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