Chaos Theory – Smock Alley – Review

Chaos Theory 2

Chaos Theory runs at Smock Alley until Dec 6th.

Smock Alley provided its usual warm welcome last night, and a cold one it was too. The theatre’s Christmas tree was already a-twinkling in the foyer. ‘Can’t believe it’s been another year’, to quote Emmy The Great.

Dreamgun Theatre are presenting their first piece for the stage, Chaos Theory, in the Boys School, Smock Alley. It has nothing to do with Christmas. And that is ok. Billed as ‘a play that is actually 25 plays’, it does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a sketch show, more so than anything else, linked in with some boffin-like commentary on Chaos Theory.

As the audience walk in, 3 bored-looking actors in overalls are visible on stage, looking out at the incoming crowd. They are quite obviously breaking the ‘fourth wall’, i.e. looking out at the punters and making eye-contact. While some consider this a no-no, I don’t usually give two hoots, but when actors look ‘bored’ as a choice it bugs me. Can’t put my finger on it, but there you go. Off to a bad start. A basket gets lowered and an audience member was given a deck of cards to put in said basket. ‘Excellent’ thought this reviewer, thinking something interesting will happen later with the basket. It didn’t. Or if it did I didn’t notice it and I had a very good sight-line.

Thankfully, what followed next were 25 sketches, some inspired, some slapstick, some surreal, involving music, video and song. The writing showed flair, fun and a sense of the ridiculousness of modern life. Some of it reminding me of Brass Eye, in its acerbic wit, lots of it was better than some skits to be seen on current Irish telly and some of it that should have been treated heavily with an editing pen.

Where the play falls down is its pace. Onstage there were 25 boxes with pictures on, containing props needed for each scene. For me, the sketches should have followed one after the other at breakneck pace, chosen perhaps by audience members selecting each prop-box at random, instead of scenes being ‘randomly selected’ on-screen by a ‘computer’. This slowed things down somewhat and detracted from the ‘chaos’ element of the experience. The cast are new but with some experience and they are talented. The production team did an impressive job of making a professional, polished looking show on a budget. It was only night two when I saw it. If they use the screen onstage only when necessary to the sketches, they will have a snappier show, one that the writing and acting deserves. I hope they trust this old hack and try it.

Chaos Theory runs at Smock Alley until Dec 6th.

Cast –

Stephen Colfer

Mark Lavery

Hannah Mamalis

Director – Stephen Colfer

Writers –

Heber Hanly

James McDonnell

Stephen Colfer

Lighting Design

Eoin Winning


Maria Ohle


Review by Audrey D.


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