The Good Thief – Bewley’s Cafe Theatre – Review

The Good Thief

The Good Thief by Conor McPherson – Review by Joseph Kearney

Presented by Greenlight Productions:

Tues 18th to Fri 21st inclusive, 8pm at Bewleys Café Theatre

Sat 22nd, Sunday 23rd at Maureen O’Hara Studio, Mill Theatre Dundrum, 8pm, tickets €10

This is a revival of a script some 15 years old; a pre-technology, pre-mobiles tale of kidnap, murder and seedy underground Dublin. It could, in the given climate, be a sister theatre piece to the award winning TV series Love/Hate, it might be more aptly described as a precursor. It is most definitely a proud ancestor to a storytelling culture emerging in Ireland of our own organised crime systems, our gangsters and hoodlums.

A hapless chap, a man in an anorak, for all intents and purposes the fella you overlook in the pub or avoid is the sole performer of this powerful script. McPherson has great psychosocial observation finely woven into this play, in the opening paragraph our protagonists announces he beats his girlfriend, and he knows it’s wrong but she annoys him, or rather she did before she left him. The character is not likeable but he is fascinating. You don’t want to forgive him his foibles but you do long to hear the tale pan out. Slow to start and it takes time for the piece to win you over but, eventually, you can’t help getting sucked in.

A hit man who is not quite a fully-fledged murderer, more a scare tactic frightener man, is drinking his way through a mental health breakdown, abandoned by Greta and stuck working as a general bone breaker for hire, he is down on his luck. A seemingly normal job to frighten a man in debt goes awry and an average working day for a hit man becomes an adventure, a disgusting, depraved and unlikely adventure. The script at times deviates from the grotesque to the sublime and while a naked man is being beaten close to death the story drifts to a dream of floating women and freshly painted staircases.

The set, lighting and design of this piece are minimal, it is really just Wayne Leitch in an anorak for the entire show, he does take a step to the side or forward from time to time, he looks about and he wipes his mouth but for the majority of the piece it is a solo confessional, a one man testimony, a sacrificial exposing of his own soul to perhaps find peace and move on.

It is very hard to like the murderer, it is even harder to pay attention to the slow and broken delivery at the start, as the momentum builds and we learn more, it becomes obvious the character is broken; his mind is not like yours or mine. We are witnessing a man who is almost like us, only lacking in empathy and devoid of boundaries in the sense of violence, drinking and murder. Shoot first, talk later but still with a peppering of morality, this is the recipe that spells the Good Thief. Go and see it for yourself.

Tues 18th to Fri 21st inclusive, 8pm at Bewleys Café Theatre

Sat 22nd, Sunday 23rd at Maureen O’Hara Studio, Mill Theatre Dundrum, 8pm, tickets €10

Categories: Theatre, Theatre Review

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