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Presenting to its audience the experiences of a sex worker, a TV host who has been replaced by “a younger model,” a bereaved mother, an Irish Mammy, and a whole host of supporting characters, the three actors deliver competent performances.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.