Hitting the Mark – Smock Alley – Tiger Dublin Fringe Review

ramblinmanHitting the Mark – Tiger Dublin Fringe – Smock Alley – Review

The premise is simple, if a little flaky. An Emmy award-winning TV producer descends on Ireland to reboot one of our favourite TV shows, Glenroe. He sees unanswered questions in the original storyline and a huge share of the viewing figures and sets about trying to create a new and more realistic vision of life in rural Ireland.

The producer finds a young, talented writer to work on the show and she expands upon his original vision. The small Wicklow village grew out of all control during the Celtic Tiger years and became one of the key commuter towns. With the economic collapse, the village now has massive unemployment. There’s a methadone clinic on the main street and crime is rife.

The producer tries to convince members of the original cast to be involved with the reboot. They manage to get Susan Slott to reprise her role as Shirley Manning, but she wants to change the character out of all recognition. She hated the original Shirley who she says did little other than smile and nod, and now plots to turn her into a monster before killing her off.

If all this seems a little far fetched, it certainly is. There’s a flurry of ideas in this vision of a sexy, dangerous reboot to one of TV’s tamest shows. The production goes for laughs and largely gets them. There are a number of unexpected guest appearances, as Alan Stanford and Gerard Byrne turn up via Skype to discuss their parts in the new production. The only real flaw in this piece is that there isn’t a clear resolution to the story, other than a moment of epiphany for one of the main characters. It is a vision of life for young actors and writers in Ireland, and what they are willing to do to find work. There’s a delicate balance between artistic integrity and being able to afford toilet paper and decisions have to be made. How to live with those decisions is the most complex question of all.

Hitting the Mark runs as part of the Tiger Dublin Fringe in the Black Box in Smock Alley until September 13th. Tickets are €12-14. Duration – 80 minutes.

Directed by Aaron Monaghan.

Written by Cillian Ó Gairbhí

Cast – Clare Monnelly, Cillian Ó Gairbhí, Karl Quinn, Kevin Shackleton & Susan Slott

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