Writer: Owen McCafferty
Director: Carol Ryan
Reviewer: Ciara Murphy
Mojo Mickybo arrives at Tallaght’s Civic Theatre with quite a reputation at its back. McCafferty’s witty and energetic play about two youths in 1970s Belfast has previously had major successes across Ireland and internationally. On Q Theatre Company present their production as part of a small Irish tour and unfortunately the show does little to meet its expectations.
“Batman would be no use in Belfast” laments Mickybo (Brian O’ Rourke) as he and his best friend Mojo (Paul Cullen) contemplate the likelinessof their favourite superheroes preventing the bombs from dropping in their home city. After a chance meeting in a local park, and united by their love for cowboy movies, this young duo become immediate best friends, vowing to reign terror on Mickybo’s arch nemesis ‘Fuckface’ and his sidekick ‘Gank the Wank’.
There is no doubt that this script needs an intense and structured energy to thrive, however under Ryan’s direction the action of the performance comes across as muddled and rushed. The play is programmed as being sixty minutes long but in fact only comes in at slightly over the fifty minute mark. This reviewer feels that the performance was rushed, and had it had more structure, would have been much more watchable. The performance was very hesitant with Cullen’s performance suffering with the occasional slip up. Cullen’s occasional narrational interludes were particularly rushed and it was sometimes hard to decipher the importance of what is being said in these moments.
The Troubles, usually a huge part of most Northern Irish theatre, forms only a small section of the show’s narrative. McCafferty’s intense and vivid script focuses more on the themes of friendship present in this turbulent society, marrying this with a glimpse of social and emotional deprivation felt by the duo’s families. McCafferty gives no indication of where in Belfast these two boys are from. This relieves the audience from the usual tired issue of typecasting that can be felt in such performances. Religion and politics are, for the most part, absent here and the script is fresher for it.
Despite the show’s faults both O’ Rourke and Cullen delivered their parts enthusiasticallyand the audience were quick to respond positively to many of the plays comic moments. The duo were certainly highly likeable and the show was entertaining. This reviewer feels that with a more structured direction this show can improve immensely.
Photo courtesy of On Q Theatre Company. Runs until April 18th 2015.
Show contains adult content and bad language.