In Arabia We’d All Be Kings – Players’ Theatre – Until July 11th.
This is a New York story. Set in 1999, this is the story of a collection of characters on the edge of society, doing what needs to be done to survive another day. They are misfits and odd balls, some needing to find their next fix and some just struggling to fit in. The play is set in a bar, where the large cast drift in and out, some needing a drink and some just trying to squeeze cash out of those the frequent the establishment. We get to meet Lenny, who has just been released from jail and is trying to pick up where he left off with Daisy, but much has changed since he went inside six years ago. Chickie and Skank are a pair of crackheads and are focused on getting money so that they can get high once more.
This is a play by Stephen Adly Guirgis, the American playwright, director, and actor. His work was recently seen in Dublin in the form of ‘The Motherfucker with the Hat’ which was performed in the New Theatre. He is a playwright that focuses on character and it is no surprise that he is an actor himself.
The most surprising thing about this production is the scope of it. Generally a night in Players’ theatre is a one man or woman show, or something small in nature with few frills. This is a substantial production, with an impressive set and a 12 member cast. The set is a bar room which is in the centre of the space with the audience sitting on either side. The arrangement works well and allows for much movement, as the various characters dash in and out.
One fault with this play is that there is no clear story arc. All the characters have their moment on stage and some have a clear path to follow but many of the stories are left unresolved. Having said that, there are some great characters and some are wonderfully realised by the impressive ensemble cast. Kyle Hixon (Skank) and Síofra O’Meara (Chickie) particularly catch the eye. Aidan Jordan has a great part as Sammy, an old man asleep at the bar who occasionally wakes up to rant about his wife. The cast do well with their American accents which is a rare thing on an Irish stage, but this is possibly due to having an American director in the form of Liam Hallahan. This is a clear step up for Some Yank’s Theatre Company and marks them as a theatre company to watch.
Duration – 100 minutes with a 10 minute interval.
Jason Gilroy – Lenny
Kyle Hixon – Skank
Emma Long – Daisy
Aidan Jordan – Sammy
Janine Hardy – Miss Reyes
Mei Bignall – Demaris
Rob Harrington – Jake / Sal
David Anthony Yeates – Vic / Carroll
Síofra O’Meara – Chickie
Fiach Kunz – Charlie
Uché Gabriel Akujobi – Greer
Rob Thompson – Holy Roller
Director: Liam Hallahan
Set Design: Sarah Foley
Costume Design: Jemma Curran
Lighting Design/Assistant Director: Ciaran Gallagher
Hair/Makeup: Reka Ferencz
Stage Manager: Síofra Nic Liam
Dialect Coach: Gavin O’Donoghue
Fight Choreography: James Cosgrave
Press and Marketing: David Doyle
Assistant Producer: Helen Major
Lighting & Sound Operator: Matt Jones
Set Construction: Connor Timmons
Photography: Ste Murray
Logo Design: Philip Ryan (www.prgraphics.ie)