Writer: Dick Walsh
Director: Pan Pan Theatre
Reviewer: Ciara Murphy
A Dangerman &Some Baffling Monster is a double bill by Dick Walsh presented by Pan Pan Theatre. Focusing the attention back on the audience the two shows provide an intriguing portrayal of social awkwardness and the confines of conventional theatre structure.
It is evident from the moment the audience walks into the theatre that some form of audience participation is to be expected. Suspicion and curiosity mingle among the audience members as the show begins but the lights stay up.
A Dangerman pulls the audience into a world filled with awkward conversations and recollections, many of which we are all used to having. The show consists of one man, nameless, who is the pinnacle of social awkwardness. He pushes the boundaries of respectable conversation and behaviour accelerating into a stream of baffling anecdotes much to the pleasure of the audience.
This “dangerman” is fantastic fun, making the audience squirm, speak out and laugh along. The improvisational nature of the performance is the secret to its success and the actor never misses a beat. He turns every seemingly random interaction into a success with a commitment to the rôle that is really impressive.
The set for the duration of both shows is minimal but enhances the stories it is hosting. The continuity provided by the set links the performances in an accessible way.
Some Baffling Monster presents the art form of theatre in very Brechtian way, utilising the Verfremdungseffektin a way which has an interesting focus but unfortunately didn’t quite reach its desired success.
A story about a cow jumping off a cliff, and all the sinister assumptions that go with it, Some Baffling Monster is intended to be just that, baffling, but this is exactly its intention.
The show is presented as a bare bones script, three rigid actors devoid of the usual dramatics and a set of floor cues. The show alienates its audience from the action and is in theory a clever theatrical device however it needed to be slightly more polished to get the desired effect. Removing the usual theatrical framework the audience was encouraged to focus on the remaining elements of the production illuminating a new theatrical experience. However the audience seemed to be ahead of the trick here and it slightly diminished the effect.
Pan Pan Theatre chose to present A Dangerman &Some Baffling Monster together and although both shows are quite different, together they present something unusual. Arousing the audience’s need for participation in the A Dangerman they are left to devour the sparse theatrical details of Some Baffling Monster. The intentions here are clear, provide the audience with a new way of viewing theatrical form and see what emerges.
Overall the two shows are a success, undoubtedly entertaining this is a performance that will pique your curiosity.
Photo courtesy of Pan Pan Theatre. Runs until 21st June.