Mavericks – Theatre Upstairs – Review


Mavericks by Rebecca Grimes & David Farrell

The backdrop contains advertising posters including one for the Alley Theatre’s production of A Waiting for Godot and another for Burger Queen. The only prop is a long wooden bench painted yellow. The two actors appear nervously with their money belts held tightly and prominently around their waists. They hope someone, anyone will come into their restaurant. One potential customer apparently looks in but disappears. With that Ben (David Fennelly) attempts to make the usual house-keeping announcement in an Irish theatre as Bearla agus as Gaeilge and makes the most delightful comic hash of it. Then Chewie (Rebeccca Grimes) and Ben face the grim reality of their situation that they are out of work actors with little prospect of work. But they believe in themselves. They decide to write a play in which they will act. The subject matter of the play will be about a couple of actors writing a play in which they will act. And that is precisely what they do with the assistance of “brain storming” and “vignettes”.

Grimes and Fennelly are not a traditional perfect fit physically for a male /female duo as she is a tad taller than he. But the director Nick Lee uses this imbalance for high comic effect throughout this tightly written series of disasters and failures as the two attempt to create the play. Both Grimes and Fennelly have a comic gift, an acute sense of timing and an ability to act together to perform a “lot of horror stories in the script [which] are based on real life experience”. The programme notes state “sadly” but there is nothing sad about this production. It is riotous fun and Grimes and her co-author David Farrell are to be congratulated on the text. Fennelly is able to convey a range of emotions with apparent innate ease and Grimes brilliantly feeds him his lines with a similar virtuosity. Their vertical imbalance brings an asymmetrical gleam to their outstanding collaboration.

Mavericks is an hour of joy which has been created out of the far from joyous facts that many young emerging talented actors are in the same situation as Ben and Chewie- out of work. Mavericks is a delight; a silk purse has been made out of a sow’s ear. A splendid piece of theatre.

Review by Frank L.

Mavericks – PREMIERES October 14th – 25th at Theatre Upstairs.

Rebecca Grimes as CHEWIE

David Fennelly as BEN

Director / Nick Lee

Set Design / Kate Moylan

Lighting Design / Zia Holly

Producer / Eimear Morrissey
DATES: Tuesday, October 14th – Saturday, October 25th

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