Home / Drama / TIGER DUBLIN FRINGE: Harder Faster More – Smock Alley, Dublin

TIGER DUBLIN FRINGE: Harder Faster More – Smock Alley, Dublin

Writer: Tracy Martin

Reviewer: Saoirse Anton

Harder Faster More is a play that had a good germ of an idea, but overstretched itself and took too shallow an approach to its good idea for it ever to improve beyond that.

Presenting to its audience the experiences of a sex worker, a TV host who has been replaced by “a younger model,” a bereaved mother, an Irish Mammy, and a whole host of supporting characters, the three actors deliver competent performances. However, no matter how good their acting skills were, they could not have grappled with this script to make it an acceptable performance.

Harder Faster More tries to tackle issues surrounding treatment of women, the stereotypes that surround them, and the misogyny that is evident in every-day life. However, in trying to tackle so many issues in such a short time frame, Martin takes only a superficial look at each and ultimately reduces each character to her stereotype of wild-living prostitute, over-the-hill celebrity, bitter mother, and other such caricatures. Though she may be trying to ameliorate or at least raise awareness about the issues she raises in the play, Harder Faster More becomes another part of the problem. Alongside this she plays for easy-laughs, further detracting from the subject matter of the play. When one watches an audience laugh regularly during a play in which a woman is trafficked, a girl commits suicide, paedophilia is mentioned, and a woman is forced to undertake extreme surgery to keep her job, it is evident that there is something quite wrong with what one is seeing. Comedy is often a powerful platform for tackling such issues, but in this instance it fails to deal with the issues in question and instead simply trivialises them.

Had there been more thought and a deeper examination of the subject matter of the play, then perhaps that germ of an idea could have developed into a positive piece of work, but there wasn’t and it didn’t. Harder Faster More was a superficial piece of work that unwittingly became a part of the problem it was trying to combat.

Photo courtesy of the Tiger Dublin Fringe. Runs until September 13th as part of the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival.

Writer: Tracy Martin Reviewer: Saoirse Anton Harder Faster More is a play that had a good germ of an idea, but overstretched itself and took too shallow an approach to its good idea for it ever to improve beyond that. Presenting to its audience the experiences of a sex worker, a TV host who has been replaced by “a younger model,” a bereaved mother, an Irish Mammy, and a whole host of supporting characters, the three actors deliver competent performances. However, no matter how good their acting skills were, they could not have grappled with this script to make it…

Review Overview

The Public Reviews' Score:

Facile

About The Reviews Hub - Ireland

The Reviews Hub - Ireland
The Ireland team is under currently under acting editorship of John Roberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

One comment

  1. Avatar
    Louise Murphy

    Dear Saoirse,
    Thank you for your review of Tracy Martin’s play Harder Faster More. I was very saddened to read your thoughts on it. I rarely leave replies on reviews but when I came across this I had to comment.

    I was at Harder Faster More last night, the 10th, for its opening night. I found the play to be amazingly well written; instead of the superficial or inappropriate use of comedy your review alludes to it had been cleverly crafted with Martin’s signature humour to bring these issues to a different demographic of people who would not necessarily be comfortable with, or interested in, attending a play portraying such harsh realities without an injection of humour.

    As someone who can relate to more than one of the stories in the play I can tell you that humour is a necessary coping mechanism, both for those who experience it and those who endeavour to understand the difficult and sometimes horrific things the women in Harder Faster More go through. Rather than being ‘quite wrong’ as you say, often the more horrendous the subject matter the more the need for humour. If the humour had not been there I would have been upset leaving the play. Instead I felt empowered.

    Further research into the play highlights that before Martin wrote it she held a series of safe place discussions with both men and women to find out how the hypersexualised world we live in affects them on a day to day basis. She drew on personal experiences and from those of the other people who attended the discussions and treated everybodies stories with respect. Unlike the caricatures you describe, she has taken stories and experiences that can resonate with people everywhere, because they are real, and created at the very least an opening for discussion and possibly even action. The waiting area of Smock Alley was buzzing last night after the play with people sharing their own experiences and how they or others they know could relate.

    Rather than requiring more thought and a deeper examination of subject matter, Tracy Martin has beautifully balanced bringing thoroughly researched, subjective and at times personal subject matter in an accessible and humorous way to an audience who may or may not be comfortable with being faced with such. For this bravery I am very grateful.

    Thank you,

    Louise Murphy