DUBLIN FRINGE FESTIVAL: The Shitstorm – Peacock, Dublin

Writer: Simon Doyle (via Shakespeare)

Director: Maeve Stone

Reviewer: Sarah Hoover

The Shitstorm trips lightly across themes, moods, and genres with its multi-talented cast and comedy-focused surreality. Best described as a riff on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, The Shitstorm initially presents as a dysfunctional family drama and ends as a trip-rock concert. In between, evocative condemnations of colonialism are interspersed with awkward relationship discussions, magical movement sequences, and repeated, changing recitals of past events. The writing is strong enough that being led down narrative and thematic dead-ends, as surrealism tends to do, is still fun and still funny.

The best part of the show is the cast. Fionnuala Gygax, who keeps exploding Dublin theatre, turns her presence and voice to good use as Miranda, while Bryan Quinn’s Prospero is so effectively patriarchal I enjoyed him most as bass player (at which he excels). Pom Boyd, with her understated intensity, brings patient Ariel down to earth – but not too far – while Ian Toner’s Caliban dances in the Venn space between Stage Irishman, Young Seeker and Angry Republican.

Not all the elements of the “postmodern pastiche”, as Gygax and Toner almost name their dysfunctional all-island band, fit happily together. The rehearsal of multiple pasts, the evocative movement sequences, even the resulting trip-rock set leave the audience bemused, but willing to play along because of the talent and the sheer unexpectedness of the script. True to its surreal roots, Gygax gives the audience an injunction: “Go somewhere else…to a space of invention! Leave! Leave!” Good advice, but wait for the end of the music set. It’s worth it.

Runs until 16 September 2017 | Image: Cait Fahey

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