Writer: Emmet Kirwan
Director: Phillip McMahon
Reviewer: Ciara Murphy
Developed as part of Show in a Bag, an artist development initiative of the Tiger Dublin Fringe Dublin Oldschool waspresented as part of the Tiger Dublin Fringe festival in 2014. Nominated for the Bewley’s Little Gem Award, the First Fortnight Award and scooping the highly sought after Best Performer award (a joint win between Ian Lloyd Anderson and Emmet Kirwan) the show’s return to a Dublin stage was highly anticipated.
Having started its journey on the intimate Bewley’s Café Theatre stage, the show’s transition to the larger Project Arts Centre’s ‘Space Upstairs’ means that this ensemblehave had to up the ante.
The play’s action takes place on the contemporary streets of Dublin. Jason, an aspiring DJ fueled by a Molotov cocktail of drugs and alcohol meanders from one rave to another. At first the audience is unsure where the story is going, is this merely an expose of Dublin’s rave scene, but the arrival into the action of Jason’s brother Daniel (Lloyd Anderson), a homeless heroin addict, adds a deeper level of meaning to the upbeat production. The beginning of the performance is energetic, while Lloyd Anderson and Kirwan rap the show’s introductory lines, the audience are thrown head first into this brash and erratic world. At first the colloquial rap is off putting, and perhaps is just slightly rushed, however it does not take long forthe two performers to sink comfortably into their rôles, exuding an energy that is electrically charged, raw and entertaining.
Armed only with two microphones, two torches and a handful of glitter, Lloyd Anderson and Kirwan keep the audience engaged and active for the duration of the performance. Although dealing with gritty andharrowing subject matter the performance never pontificates, insteadDublin Oldschoolallows its audience to engage, and to understandthe lives of the characters making their way across the scorching Dublin landscape.
The set is black box, the characters narrative so convincingthat we really could be pounding the familiar streets of Dublin. Ivan Birthistle’s sound design gives the space a depth to the space, which otherwise runs the risk of being sparse. Sarah Jane Shiels’ lighting design creating a medley of landscapes for the characters to inhabit.
Ultimately the reason for this play’s success is its story. Simple and energeticDublin Oldschool reveals just enough to leave the audience wanting more.
Photoby Albert Hooi. Runs until 13th December.