FestivalsIrelandReview

DublinLand – The Lir Academy, Dublin

Reviewer: Ciarán Leinster

Writer: Matthew Tallon & Cian Jordan

Director: Matthew Tallon & Cian Jordan

There is a perfect irony in going to see DublinLand in the Lir, placed as it is in the middle of Grand Canal Dock’s massive regeneration project. When leaving the theatre, you have the choice of Silicon Dock to the left, or Google’s Ireland headquarters to the right; this can’t help but direct one’s attention to the huge targets that have been aimed at in this show, but unfortunately, mostly missed.

The parts are all in place here for a brutal satire that really has fun with its conceit. Taoiseach Simon Costello (Cian Jordan) is announcing his plan to solve Ireland’s financial crisis by selling the capital city to tech billionaire Zachary Blomkamp (Matthew Tallon), who plans to convert it to a city-sized theme park, in which the role of the natives will be to simply play themselves for the amusement of visitors. Despite the fact that we have seen these characters many times before – the self-serving politician and the polo neck-wearing, smooth-voiced tech genius – hopes are raised that Jordan and Tallon will pursue the idea: what would that really be like? How would people be impacted by such a change? Are we closer to it than we might imagine?

There is a suggestion that they will explore postmodernist ideas of the supplanting of reality with the virtual, and in turn of the virtual with reality, but these are left to wilt while a plethora of predictable or repetitive gags, and non-sequiturs, become the focus of the piece. Tallon and Jordan have excellent chemistry, and are amusing writers and performers, but they needed more time and work to truly explore DublinLand.

There are good moments throughout, like Costello stating that the term “economic depression” won’t be used to describe the country’s fiscal status so as not to offend people suffering with mental health problems, but jokes about Americans claiming Irish heritage or mispronouncing place names inevitably wear thin. This means that it’s impossible to not view DublinLand as a missed opportunity to say a lot more than what has already been said about tech companies, politicians, and Americans.

Runs until 16th September 2023.

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