Writer: Conor McPherson
Director: Stephen Darcy
Reviewer: Lesley J. Russell
Martin Donaghy plays the part convincingly in Rum and Vodka, this one-man tale of self-destruction, from throwing his computer out of his office window to adultery, assault and theft. A 25-year-old man tired of his mundane life, trapped by his own mistakes of early marriage, two children and a dull job, exacts vengeance on himself and those around him in a prolonged weekend of binge drinking and its consequences.
Donaghy, a Citizens Theatre actor intern, takes us through the streets and bars of Dublin in a devilish way. The stage is bare except for empty bottles, which provoke a feeling of his life, empty and despairing. This play makes interesting points about the culture of binge drinking, the paranoia, depression and self-analysis and the accompanying impatience with the world.We see how the character Michael is with his two mates, when he dreams of a life that would free him from the mundane, but he will never achieve due to his own shortcomings.
There are many humorous one-liners in the clever writing by Mc Pherson; “Have you any idea how long I’ve been meaning to do that?” he says after throwing the computer out of the office window and one even feels, in the small intimate setting of the Circle Studio theatre at The Citizens, included in the asides.There are many crude expressions too though in McPherson’s writing, which is intended to shock and shock it does, unfortunately, the females referred to in this play appear to have universally low moral standards.
Perhaps Donaghy could physically show more of the effects of his excessive drinking, palpitations and nervous tics, as well as in the comedy dance he does. Choreographed hilariously by Laura Fisher he does a dance to Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough”, meant to symbolise him having sex with the girl he meets who he thinks is the girl of his dreams. The dance routine puts one in mind of the dances in The Inbetweeners or The Full Monty. He looks to this stranger to “cure his life.”
The set is minimal and the venue lends itself well to the text. The narrative is good and is well told. Donaghy gets the nervous, silly side of the character, but perhaps he could get the extreme self-loathing better in this portrayal. The writing alone in this early work by McPherson makes is worth seeing.
Runs until 7 March 2015