DramaDublin Fringe FestivalIrelandReview

DUBLIN FRINGE FESTIVAL: NEON Western – Samuel Beckett Theatre, Dublin

Creators: Evan Lordan, Gavin McEntee, and Peter Power

Director: Gavin McEntee

Reviewer: Ciara L. Murphy

The Samuel Beckett Theatre has been transformed into the ‘Soiled Dove Saloon’ for an event that is billed as ‘part rave, part theatre’. As the audience step inside the performance space it is clear that this is a Western like no other, with glow in the dark body paint and neon lights the name of the game.

The performance, also described as an ‘immersive’ experience falls short of that mantle. It is at best a low-key promenade. The audience stand in the centre of the auditorium surrounded on all sides, and on various levels, by spaces of dramatic action. However the audience are not really engaged in the action of the piece, we have no agency here, something which this reviewer feels would have improved the audience-performance relationship and given the show some additional dynamism.

The performance is a short seventy-five minutes long and the performers deliver committed performances. The piece follows a (very loose) Western structure and the obligatory hero/anti-hero trope is well documented. Morality is at the centre of this performance and the ensemble work to ensure that the audience know there is more than one sense of what is moral in this bizarre world.

The overall design of the piece (Deirdre Dwyer and Sarah Jane Shiels) is firm and eye-catching. Despite the audience’s mostly unmoving position, every facet of the action is accessible with the right amount of tension consistently maintained.

Despite the commitment of the cast, this reviewer can’t help but feel that this performance is more style than substance. It is an entertaining evening but the true intention of the creative team is not clear in this production. There are some truly bewildering moments, some intentional I am sure, but some which just miss the mark.

Runs until 17 September 2017 | Image: Contributed

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