Tuesday 22 October 2019

Theatre: Stars fail to shine for Bob and Judy

More miss than hit: Bob & Judy
More miss than hit: Bob & Judy

Emer O'Kelly

You are the kind of person who can suspend disbelief enough to believe in weird and wonderful sci-fi, or you are not. But even allowing for willing suspension of disbelief, it needs to be written with some degree of accomplishment and be rooted in a plausible reality as a starting point.

Boy meets girl certainly has a plausible reality, not to say a hackneyed one. But when Bob and Judy meet in Bob and Judy, it's hard not to imagine that if either of them was remotely sane, he/she would run a mile from the other. A girl is dancing in a moonlit garden (except the lighting doesn't exactly convey that impression) and when a delivery man arrives in with a gift-wrapped parcel, she's absolutely devastated that he should have found her in what is apparently a compromising situation.

Her radio is doing funny peculiar things, breaking from pop into crackly messages about holes in the cosmos (I think.) And she's deeply suspicious because the parcel is being delivered at the extraordinary hour of 7pm. So she refuses to accept it …. and only after a stilted 10-minute conversation with the delivery man describing his work routine, does it occur to her to try to see who sent the damn thing. It's a telescope; from her mother; who's dead.

No spoiler alert necessary, because the piece simply doesn't hold together as a theatrical offering, from the finding of disappearing comets to panic attacks caused by black holes temporarily taking over bodies (I think). All ends happily however, with Bob and Judy holding hands in the realisation that they're just specks on specks. Well, hallelujah!

It's by Gerard Adlum (who plays Bob), with Nessa Matthews as Judy, and they're directed awkwardly in this Fast Intent production by Sarah Finlay at Theatre Upstairs at Lanigan's Bar on Eden Quay in Dublin (early evening and lunchtime on Wednesdays and Saturdays). Not one of this enterprising company's successes.

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