If We Got Some more Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You – Vault Festival, London

Writer: John O’Donovan

Director: Thomas Martin

Reviewer: Tom Finch

After robbing a petrol station for €16 worth of bullion, two working class lads are stuck on a roof hiding from the police. As they try to keep out of sight they pass the time drinking, snorting coke and talking.

John O’Donovan’s two-hander is a slow burner, there is after all only so much that can happen on a small rooftop but there is plenty in this piece to enjoy.

The two lads, Mikey and Casey, played respectively by Alan Mahon and Josh Williams are full of surprises. It soon becomes clear that these two are more than just friends and slowly they begin to extrapolate on growing up gay in an abusive cycle of violence and assault.

O’Donovan’s take on a working-class LGBT story is commendable. All too often gay drama takes place in a swanky apartment in London, not on top of a terraced roof in a small town in the west of Ireland. There is real pain and anxiety on display here. Two young men, terrified of what the future holds have no choice but to hold on to each other, separated from the rest of the world. The rooftop becomes a metaphor for their entire lives.

It’s a shame though the two characters are not written equally. Mikey, an abrasive and yet somehow likeable guy seems the most fleshed out. His emotions are as contradictory as they are inevitable. He is a well rounded and full understandable character. Mahon has a gift of a role that he really makes the most of. He manages to be darkly funny as well as showing off a brutal vulnerability.

Casey, on the other hand is flatter, a little one note in comparison. That’s not to say that Williams does not do a great job. He mines what he can and does his best with the role but without the same emotional peaks and troughs as Mikey he does seem somewhat short-changed.

Director Thomas Martin really raises the stakes and creates neat bursts of focussed energy to break up the more intimate moments. That some sections seem to drag a little feels more down to a script that could do with a little more pruning.

Georgia de Gray’s rooftop set and Derek Anderson’s lighting to an excellent job of transporting the audience to a moonlit rooftop.

This is an exciting and at times exhilarating play from a promising writer. It is exciting to see what he writes next.

Runs until 25 February 2018 | Image: Keith Dixon

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