Tuesday 20 March 2018

'Revolver' is just a boring Kermit roundabout

Revolver Theatre Upstairs, Eden Quay, Dublin

Charlene Craig and Colm O'Brien in 'Revolver'.
Charlene Craig and Colm O'Brien in 'Revolver'.

Emer O'Kelly

When a play begins with a man and a woman having a screaming row, and the first audible line is: "Kermit isn't even a frog; he's a piece of felt" you can only hope it will get better. Unfortunately, Revolver doesn't get better.

A play about boring self-absorbed people boringly being bored is pretty well guaranteed to be boring. And that's Seanan McDonnell's play in a nutshell, as Bea and Ben (that's his second name because he thinks his first name, Aodh, is confusing) play and re-play their first date, arranged through a dating site which keeps "pinging" them out and allowing them to start again.

You think that might be repetitive? You'd be right.

They keep beginning by telling each other their starter positions: he's a mathematician, feeling guilty for having had parents who put him through four years of Oxford; she was in management training, got fed up, and is now in the second year of a Ph.D. in linguistics. Except that neither the script, nor for that matter the acting, manages to convince that either Bea or Ben is any kind of an intellectual high-flyer. They're just run-of-the-mill, averagely non-achieving Irish late 20-somethings who are both getting a bit desperate in the dating game.

It would be dreary to sit in the wings of such an encounter in reality; trying to give it theatrical legs smacks of creative desperation.

The "revolver" of the title seems to refer to the cyclical nature of the piece, as it ends with the pair moving from their initial introductory "statements" to agreeing on the merits of the Muppet movie. Geddit? They're finally on the way to their opening row about Kermit. It's a Sugar Coat Theatre production at Theatre Upstairs at Lanigan's Bar on Eden Quay in Dublin.

Matthew Ralli's lacklustre direction is possibly due to the numbing effect of the play itself. Charlene Craig and Colm O'Brien play Bea and Ben with equal superficiality, although there is an interesting set designed by Dylan Farrell, and lit by Teresa Nagel.

Sunday Independent

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