Writer: Caitlin Magnall-Kearns
Doody describes itself as ‘A darkly comic one-man show …..an unforgettable look at toxic masculinity, privilege and truly terrible mummy issues…. delivered with a splashing of Grease…’. Shot in the style of a grainy home video, Aaron Hickland deftly plays the role of Niall, a deeply troubled young man who is still reeling from being cast as Doody in his high school production of Grease a decade ago.
As Hickland progresses through the monologue, it becomes clear that being cast as Doody, (instead of the coveted role of Danny Zucco) cemented the younger Niall’s feelings of not being good enough, of always being second best and these are feelings he has internalised for ten years and counting. However, his theatrical talents are consistently championed by his doting ‘mummy’ and from his many references to her, the audience is able to assume her part in creating and enabling the entitled, misogynistic man on screen.
The set is simple yet effective; Hickland stares into the camera, sporting a Danny Zucco inspired leather jacket. He sits in front of a collage of blood-splattered photos of his former nemeses (all having played a role in shattering his amateur dramatic dreams) that succeeds in creating an incredibly chilling image.
The monologue oozes with an undercurrent of violence and entitlement that makes for uncomfortable viewing as an audience member. Magnall-Kearns’ writing skilfully allows for Hickland to narrate Niall’s lucid childhood memories, then move seamlessly to unhinged outbursts of rage and bitterness. Even with smattering of absurdity and comic relief, the script leaves the audience intentionally on edge and uncertain. The show feels longer than its run-time of 25 minutes, which is a positive critique. It is thanks to the pace and high-quality writing, that a deep multi-dimensional plot is able to be developed and executed in a sub half hour performance.
Doody definitely leans closer to the ‘dark’ rather than the ‘comedy’ aspect. The bizarre elements such as the quirky electro music (Katie Richardson) and a sock puppet, do not change the fact that due to the current climate surrounding male privilege and misogynistic violence towards women, this digital show hits closer to the bone than perhaps it ever set out to.
Available here until 27 June 2021
The Living Record @ Brighton Fringe runs here from 28 May until 27 June 2021